NEW PALESTINE — Chad Red Sr. has only one mode in life. Either he’s “all in” or not at all.

Something that, he said, will never change, and the reason he believed the time is right to step away after 19 years of coaching.

“I’ve done this quite awhile and have really enjoyed it,” the New Palestine wrestling coach remarked on his career. “But there comes a point when you know. This is it.”

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On Thursday, he officially announced his resignation from the Dragons wrestling program to athletics director Allen Cooper after four years as head coach and five overall.

“It’s been great, but it’s definitely time, and it has nothing to do with New Pal. It has to do with myself,” Red, 40, said. “I have a daughter (C’journey, 13), and she is an eighth-grader. I need to be around for her last four years more than what I have been around.

“I cherish the relationship I have with both of my kids the same.”

The bonds he formed with his wrestlers while at New Palestine are equally as strong, Red said, which made his decision difficult.

More than a coach, Red become an inspiring leader in the Dragons “red room,” endeared by his competitors and their families for his energy, enthusiasm and family approach.

Never afraid to speak his mind, Red often wore his emotions on his sleeve, unfiltered, raw, animated and honest, sometimes to a fault, he said, but the respect he gained from his wrestlers and peers was genuine and directly related to his high-level coaching style.

“Some people don’t like him because of how he acts, but I do,” said Ed Hamant, Greenfield-Central interim head coach and 2015-16 Indiana Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee. “He’s good for wrestling. He’s a good coach.”

Often seen squirming, leaping or falling out of his chair in the corner of the mat during a match, Red was rarely without rule book close by, quick to debate a call, plead his wrestler’s case to the officials or “let someone else have the last word.”

“When I coach, it’s all in,” he said. “But I’ve become a better coach and person for being at New Palestine. The job made me look at myself, helped me grow into who I am.”

GETTING HIS START

Red first started wrestling at the age of 4, a natural path to take considering his father, Raymond, was an All-American at Danville Community College before transferring to Western Illinois. Red’s six uncles all followed suit in a family of 14 siblings.

In high school in Danville, Illinois, Red was a state qualifier and later an All-American wrestler at Lincoln Junior College before crossing the state line to attend the University of Indianapolis where he was a two-time national qualifier.

A little more than a week after graduating from UIndy, his coaching career began at Lawrence Central as a 21-year-old.

He was an assistant coach for the Bears from 1997-2002 before he became the head coach for nine years.

In 2010, he spent a year as an assistant coach under Danny Williams at Warren Central until he finally decided to heed the advice of Michael Hunt, a wrestling coach at Doe Creek Elementary, and take a look at New Palestine.

Initially reluctant, Red admits, he joined veteran coach Steve Harding’s staff in 2011 and immediately cemented himself into the community.

“I finally gave New Pal a chance, and it was probably the best five years of coaching that I’ve ever had,” Red said. “Unfortunately, it’s coming to an end, but it’s been a lot of fun.”

In those five seasons, Red played a role in shaping 18 state qualifiers and 13 state place winners. Of those, 15 state qualifiers and 13 state place winners happened while serving as head coach.

The Dragons placed no lower than 17th as a team at the IHSAA wrestling state finals the past four seasons and were a school-best fifth overall in 2013-14.

He coached a pair of two-time state medalists in Alec White, a junior, and Brian Wagner, who was state runner-up at 195 pounds with a 41-5 record as a senior in 2013-14.

As head coach, the Dragons compiled a 68-4 record and were 86-7 the five years he was affiliated with New Palestine. His overall career record stands at 144-52.

COACHING SON

The crown jewel, however, was watching his son, Chad (C.J.) Red, rewrite school and state history by winning four consecutive state titles and finishing his career undefeated at 183-0 with 133 pins. Red Jr. is just the third unbeaten four-timer in state history and second to win in four different weight classes.

“It was a treat for me to go out and sit in his corner,” Red said. “I don’t know any other coach that has been able to coach at the magnitude of the level that I’ve been able to coach the last three years. That’s what elevated me to the level that I’m at as a coach because of my son.”

Ranked No. 1 in the nation both as a junior and a senior, Red Jr., a Nebraska signee, traveled the nation to compete in several premier tournaments, and coach Red often provided similar opportunities for his other “kids.”

Taking some of his Dragons around the country to events in the offseason, his dedication extended to those within the Red Cobra Wrestling Academy in Avon where he trains wrestlers year round.

“Those New Pal kids are still going to be my kids. Some of those kids will still come out to our academy. I’ll still have an impact on those kids,” Red said. “My goal is not to move out to Nebraska like everyone thinks and coach my kid. That’s not me. I’m not going anywhere. They’ll still see me. It just won’t be in the same capacity.”

Red will continue to work with the New Palestine wrestling team until the end of the school year and plans to help the transition when a new coach is hired while branching out more this summer.

From June 13 to 17, he is scheduled to team up alongside Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs and James Green, a bronze medalist at the 2015 World Championships, at a Nebraska Wrestling Camp.

It will be one of many trips to the Cornhusker state, said Red Sr., with his son set to began taking classes June 1 before potentially getting redshirted as a freshman.

“It’s exactly what they envisioned four years ago,” Cooper said. “I remember talking with Chad (Red Sr.) when I hired him. He said, ‘My goal is for my son to be a four-time state champion and go onto college.’ I told him it was a great goal, and then it became a reality.

“A lot of people will be sad in the wrestling community because he’s that good of a coach. We have a great program and great kids that enjoy wrestling and he’s a big part of that. We’ll move forward. We don’t want to, but we will.”

‘He’s a terrific coach’

Although Red intends to stay involved in wrestling full-time at Red Cobra, he will be missed even by those outside of New Palestine, said Evansville Mater Dei’s Nick Lee, who Red coached on a handful of national teams in the past.

Lee, ranked fourth in the nation at 132 pounds, was the last high school wrestler to lose to Red Jr., in the most anticipated championship match of the state finals last month.

“We lived on opposite sides of the state, so we only saw each other at the national tournaments, but he’s been in my corner. I can tell you, he’s a terrific coach,” said Lee, a Penn State recruit. “I think New Palestine is losing a good one, and I think the state is, too. It’s going to be hard to see him go.”

As he waved to the crowd of 12,643 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis during the wrestling state finals three weeks ago, Red celebrated his son’s perfect finale by raising both hands in the air with four fingers each.

Looking back now, his gesture had two meanings.

“All things come to an end. That’s what they’ll remember. He won,” said Red, who won’t rule out a return at the college level somewhere down the line. “Mr. Cooper, Mr. (Keith) Fessler (New Palestine principal) and Mr. (Miles) Hercamp (assistant principal), those guys gave me an opportunity.

“They gave me a chance when some wouldn’t have because ‘he’s a too loud guys, he doesn’t do this or that, he’s not this way,’ but they took a chance on me, and I’m thankful.”

Dragons Team Placements

In Red’s four seasons as head coach at New Palestine, the Dragons were 68-4 and finished in the state’s top-20 each year. The program’s fifth-place showing at the State Finals in 2013-14 was the highest in school history. Through Red’s five years with the team, the Dragons were 86-7.

2012-13

• 2nd at Warren Central Sectional

• 3rd at Perry Meridian Regional

• 4th at New Castle Semistate

• 7th at IHSAA State Finals

2013-14

• 2nd at Shelbyville Sectional

• 3rd at Perry Meridian Regional

• 4th at New Castle Semistate

• 5th at IHSAA State Finals

2014-15

• 2nd at Warren Central Sectional

• 3rd at Perry Meridian Regional

• 6th at New Castle Semistate

• 17th at IHSAA State Finals

2015-16

• 3rd at Shelbyville Sectional

• 3rd at Perry Meridian Regional

• 6th at New Castle Semistate

• 11th at IHSAA State Finals

State Qualifiers

With Red in the Dragons’ corner as the head coach the team sent 15 wrestlers to the State Finals and 11 left as place winners. Brian Wagner was a two-time state medalist along with Alec White. Chad (C.J.) Red became the school’s first and the state’s ninth four-time state champion. He was the third unbeaten four-timer all time with a record of 183-0 and the school’s first state champ since Kyle Ulrey (46-0) at 152 pounds in 2007-08. Overall, in five seasons, Red helped train 18 state qualifiers and 13 place winners.

2015-16

113 pounds: Alec White (44-3), 6th at State

132 pounds: Chad (C.J.) Red (44-0), 1st at State

145 pounds: Jared Timberman (41-7), 8th at State

2014-15

106 pounds: Cameron Diep (42-6), 8th at State

113 pounds: Alec White (40-5)

126 pounds: Chad (C.J) Red (47-0), 1st at State

220 pounds: Noah Grable (22-10)

2013-14

106 pounds: Alec White (36-9), 4th at State

120 pounds: Chad (C.J) Red (44-0), 1st at State

126 pounds: Rylan McCarty (37-7)

195 pounds: Brian Wagner (41-5), 2nd at State

2012-13

106 pounds: Chad (C.J.) Red (48-0), 1st at State

138 pounds: Gordon Wagner (39-8)

145 pounds: Robbie Elsea (40-8), 8th at State

182 pounds: Brian Wagner (41-6), 3rd at State

2011-12*

106 pounds: Tommy Cash (42-1), 5th at State

113 pounds: Taylor Fee (33-6)

160 pounds: Conner Robinson (36-8), 2nd at State

* Assistant coach at New Palestine

Career Breakdown

Chad Red Sr.

Age: 40

Family: Niki (wife), C.J. Red (son), C’journey Red (daughter)

High School: Danville High School, Ill. (freestyle All-American)

College: Lincoln Junior College, 1993-95 (All-American), University of Indianapolis, 1995-97 (two-time National Qualifier)

Years Coaching: 19 (five at New Palestine)

Overall Coaching Record: 144-52

Coaching Career: Red was an assistant coach at Lawrence Central from 1997-2001. He became the head coach of the program in 2001-03 and led the Bears until 2010. … Red joined the coaching staff at Warren Central as an assistant under Danny Williams in 2010-11. … The following year Red became an assistant coach for Steve Harding in 2011-12. When the veteran head coach stepped down, Red served as head coach at New Palestine from 2012-16. … He trains wrestlers at the Red Cobra Wrestling Academy in Avon.

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Rich Torres is sports editor at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at rtorres@greenfieldreporter.com or 317-477-3227.