CLINTON – It’s not the first time the Clinton High School Hall of Fame has heard the Lueders name.
That makes it no surprise that another member of the legendary family joined the 2019 class last weekend. JD Lueders joined not just as an extraordinary athlete in wrestling and baseball, but also as a coach.
Still, it wasn’t something he thought about.
“I sit here and think about how fast all this goes, and what a difference high school made in my life,” Lueders said. “Watching everyone growing up, I was just an idolizer. The whole place was like a family, and I grew up in that family.”
Growing up with a father like the one and only Bob Lueders, it’s not surprise that River King athletics ran through his veins.
Lueders spoke about growing up in a household ran by the head wrestling coach. There was no participation trophies, he said, you either won or you lost. And if you lost it was all on you.
And when he thanked his father, who passed away before being inducted in 2016, not only did he lose his words, but he was greeted by a round of applause for Bob Lueders and the rest of the family.
JD Lueders graduated in 1982, and before he wore his cap and gown he participated in football, wrestling, track and baseball. He earned All-State baseball honors as a four-year varsity letter winner.
In wrestling, he was a two-time state place winner, becoming a state champion as a senior at 167 pounds in Class 3A.
After high school, he went to Purdue University on a full-ride wrestling scholarship. To even further impress, he transferred to the University of Northern Iowa and played baseball, later receiving a tryout for the Chicago Cubs organization.
Then, he came back. He carried on what his father had started in the wrestling room and took over the River Kings program. He took over in 2010, coaching for 16 years and building an impressive record. His teams had 168 dial wins and 51 state qualifiers, nearly half of which placed at the state meet.
His teams also made six straight regional duals, finishing seventh at state.
“I walk into that room and I can see my dad and feel his emotion and spirit in that room and what he brought to every kid,” Lueders said.
Whether you’re looking at him as an athlete or a coach, it’s obvious JD Lueders belongs with his father on the Hall of Fame wall, even though he was just doing what his family does: making an impact.
“The first thing I thought was I don’t belong on that wall with the people who are up there,” Lueders said. “Then I thought, that’s pretty cool.”