Longtime Lawrence High wrestling coach Jim Beltch has taken early retirement, turning in his resignation on Wednesday.
Beltch, 57, had been a head wrestling coach for 34 seasons, including the past 29 at LHS. He also resigned his position as psychology teacher.
``It's the hardest thing I've done in my whole life,'' Beltch said. ``It kept me up at night for a whole week. I've been an emotional wreck ever since I turned in my paperwork.''
Beltch has tentatively accepted a teaching position at Kansas City (Mo.) Park Hill South, where former LHS principal Brad Tate is now principal.
While at LHS, Beltch coached an estimated 800 wrestlers and produced 36 state medalists, including two state champions.
Beltch's 29 years as a head coach at LHS ranks second all-time at the high school behind former track and cross country coach Steve Sublett's 31 years.
Beltch becomes the second longtime LHS coach to resign in the past six months. Volleyball coach Joan Wells resigned in November after 27 years as the program's lone head coach.