Erie's new athletic director is a go-getter. There is no other explanation for his quick rise to his new post.
Richie Wildenhaus' journey to the man in charge of the Tigers was circuitous, but it was also rapid. The 33-year-old continued to parlay his situations into something bigger until he landed in the portion of the state where he and his wife, Colleen, want to be. Colleen recently was hired as a teacher at Red Hawk Elementary in Erie.
"When we first came to Colorado, we really wanted to be in the St. Vrain Valley School District," Wildenhaus said. "We went to a job fair at UNC, and driving around this northern Denver area, we really fell in love with being close to the mountains and being close to Boulder, which is one of our favorite towns."
Wildenhaus, who replaces Mark Roemer, also will serve the role as assistant principal. With Roemer and former principal Steve Payne now retired, Erie restructured its administrative team with Wildenhaus becoming an AD/AP and Matt Buchler now the new principal.
After earning his master's degree at UNLV and beginning his career in Las Vegas as an assistant AD at Liberty High School, Wildenhaus came to Colorado. He first landed in Craig, where he served as Moffat County's AD for two years. Then it was off to Fort Morgan, where he occupied the same seat for two more years. There, with Fort Morgan and Erie both members of the Tri-Valley League, he became acquainted with Roemer.
After growing up in southwestern Ohio, Wildenhaus played baseball at Wilmington College. He then spent two years in South Carolina, where he met his wife, before heading to Las Vegas. He spent five years in Vegas studying and beginning his career before he realized it was time for a change.
"I was looking to get into athletic administration, but I didn't want to do it in Nevada," said Wildenhaus, who has children ages 8 and 5. "I didn't see Las Vegas as a long-term fit for me and my family. It was great while we were there, but we ready to move on and come to Colorado."
Wildenhaus originally was hired in May, which gave him and Roemer some time communicate and discuss the future. The transition period was extremely valuable, as Wildenhaus was able to gauge the pulse of where things currently stood.
"I'm excited about Erie," Wildenhaus said. "I really like where they sit, and I'm excited about the future that they have, and I'm excited to be a part of that. I'm already in the office and working throughout the summer, just trying to get things going."
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