New Free State wrestling coach Randy Streeter eager to bring fun, fire to FSHS program

photo by: Contributed photo

New Free State wrestling coach Randy Streeter was officially hired to lead the Firebirds program on July 13, 2020, after nearly two decades as an assistant high school coach and head middle school coach throughout Lawrence.

New Free State wrestling coach Randy Streeter has big goals, and he thinks a key part of bringing success back to the school’s wrestling room is to create a family atmosphere.

And he’s got a bit of a head start in that regard, as some of the wrestlers are already family to him.

Two of Streeter’s three sons are on the team: Caleb, a senior who’s is in position to pick up his 100th career victory during the 2020 season, and Eric, a 113-pound sophomore who’s coming off a trip to state as a freshman. The youngest boy, Drew, will be entering the eighth grade this coming school year.

Streeter’s sons figure to be a big part of the transition he hopes to make in the coming years. He’s hoping he can turn the program from an underperformer into a consistent contender.

“It’s just time for me to step it up a notch with Free State,” Streeter said this week, shortly after his hiring became official. “They’ve been underperforming for a while, with what they’ve had, and it’s time to get that thing going. There’s a lot of talent there.”

Before he accepted the job, Streeter said he held a family meeting to make sure everyone was on board with his leading the program.

“I sat down with everybody and said, ‘Speak now or be quiet forever. If there’s an issue with this, we need to talk about it now,'” Streeter said.

No one objected, and Streeter said the boys were happy about the news.

A fixture with youth wrestling in Lawrence for the past two decades, Streeter is the founder of the Sunflower Kids Wrestling Club, which now has more than 80 members. He also has experience as a head coach at the middle school level (South and Southwest) and an assistant at the high school level, having worked under Lawrence High coach Pat Naughton for 10 years.

The two prep coaches are close friends and teamed up to coach nine Class 6A state champions and one National High School All-American at LHS. Streeter also won 12 middle school city championships during his years as a head coach.

Now that he and Naughton will be on opposite sides of the city showdown, Streeter believes their personal competition will only enhance the city’s high school wrestling scene.

“That’s going to be a great, great deal,” he said. “It’s at Free State this year and it’ll be my son’s senior night. I can’t wait.”

Streeter, who grew up in New York and graduated from the University of Kansas, had planned to host a summer camp later this month. But the COVID-19 pandemic put a wrinkle in those plans. Instead, he has spent the past few weeks working to get in touch with his future wrestlers and their families and even started to reach out to middle school coaches and other Free State coaches to get a jump-start on rebuilding the program.

He’s close friends with second-year FSHS football coach Kevin Stewart, and he believes the two can work together to bring success to both programs.

He also plans to emphasize keeping young wrestlers interested in the sport all the way through high school.

“We have lost so many wrestlers from the junior-high-to-high-school transition over the last couple of years,” Streeter said. “And we’ve got to get those kids back.”

The way he hopes to do that is with energy, excitement and a whole bunch of wins.

“We’ve got some weapons, and whenever they give me the green light, I’m ready to get going,” Streeter said. “We’re going to create that environment and that buzz.”

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