Fruita hires Van Hoose to coach wrestling

Fruita Monument High School found an experienced wrestling coach to replace one of the most experienced coaches in the state.

Former Gunnison High School coach Dan Van Hoose was hired Friday to lead the Wildcats’ wrestling program.

“(Former Gunnison Athletic Director) Ed Woytek gave him a super recommendation for building the program up there,” Fruita Monument Athletic Director Denny Squibb said. “(Van Hoose) seems to be a very enthusiastic coach and very into the kids. We liked his experience in the coaching ranks and the fact he’s been a head coach before. We think he’ll do a good job.”

Van Hoose replaces Jim Stockert, the varsity coach for 30 years.

Van Hoose has coached wrestling from the middle school to college level.

He was an assistant at Western State College in the early 1990s and was the head coach at Gunnison High School from 1999 to 2004. The Cowboys placed 18th as a team in the Class 3A state tournament in his final season.

Van Hoose left the position in 2004 and moved to Grand Junction, and has taught and coached wrestling in middle school the past six years, Squibb said.

Stockert retired last year, but was asked to return one more season as the position remained open for applicants, Squibb said.

Fruita Monument won the state team title in 1982, Stockert’s third year as a head coach, and finished second by one-half point the next year. The Wildcats have had numerous top-10 finishes in Stockert’s 30 years and he has produced 14 state champions, including one two-time champion, current Palisade High School coach Brian Rush.


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