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The Lueders name is staying atop the Clinton wrestling program.

A little more than a month after his father, JD, stepped down as the River Kings' coach, Eric Lueders was appointed Thursday as his successor.

"Being the third generation member in our family to coach this program, that's not an opportunity you get every day," said Lueders, whose grandfather Bob directed the program for more than three decades.

Lueders spent the past seven years as an assistant under his father. After the season concluded, Lueders resigned.

It wasn't until Wednesday that he was ready to pursue the opening.

"There were a lot of things I had to think about," Lueders said.

Besides keeping the Lueders name in the program, the other intriguing component was helping turn boys into young men and improving their wrestling skills.

"I've been coaching kids since I was 18 years old. I couldn't give that up," he said. "My dad was involved in every discussion I had along with my wife. It was a group effort, and we came to the decision this was the right decision."

Lueders, 32, said he'll lean on his father for advice and encouragement. JD, though, will not be in the practice room working with the wrestlers.

"We're a close family," Lueders said. "He coached me for four years in high school and I've coached with him for another 14. Family is one of the pillars we want to instill in the program, and he'll be there to help me."

An eighth grade history teacher in Clinton, Lueders was a volunteer assistant at Northeast as an 18-year-old. He was the head coach there for a season at 21.

He's also been a middle school coach at Clinton.

"I've been coaching since I got done competing," he said.

Lueders said already having a relationship with most of the wrestlers is significant. He plans to meet with his team Friday and begin offseason preparations.

In the last seven years, Clinton has had multiple state place winners five times. The River Kings have nine starters from the district meet expected back.

"The program is in good shape," Lueders said. "The cupboard isn't bare. The kids want to wrestle, want to be good. The message isn't going to change very much at all."

Clinton activities director Justin Remington was pleased to fill the opening with a familiar name.

"Eric has served in the program for several years and has played an important role in our success," Remington said. "Eric’s discipline, competitiveness and high expectations will greatly benefit the program."

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Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.