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Decorated Raiders Coach Messore Steps Down, Lorenz Takes Reins of St. Francis Wrestling

Updated: Jul 1

St. Francis assistant coach Steve Hart (l) and head coach Mike Messore (r) in the state federation tournament finals - February 2024 // photo courtesy of Jeff Pataky

The 2023-2024 NYS Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) dual meet and small school tournament champion St. Francis Red Raiders wrestling will be under new leadership starting with the upcoming season as head coach Mike Messore will step down after a thirty-two year tenure.

After taking over in the 1992-1993 season, Messore is the longest tenured head wrestling coach in western New York.


Current assistant coach Ron Lorenz will take over as head man of Raiders Wrestling beginning with the 2024-2025 season while Coach Messore will remain on staff.


“I marveled at his coaching; he was preparing his guys not just for the toughest sport to compete in with wrestling, but for the toughest game we need to fight with after wrestling, which is the game of life,” said St. Francis athletic director Steve Otremba via a social media post.


Over the course of his tenure as head coach, Messore tallied 360 dual meet wins, twenty-five Msgr. Martin High School Athletic Association (MMHSAA) combined dual and All-Catholic tournament titles, eighteen CHSAA Division II tournament titles, and three CHSAA dual meet titles (2015, 2018, 2024). Messore guided 170 All-Catholic tournament champions, twenty-three CHSAA tournament champions, nine state federation tournament place winners, and the first pair of NYS finalists in league and program history.

Messore was also the recipient of the WNY Wrestling Coaches Association 2024 Jon Vesper Award named for the late Clarence head wrestling coach and presented “In recognition of your passion for the sport of wrestling and your tireless and unselfish efforts as a coach in supporting and promoting wrestling and wrestlers in Western New York.”

The Vesper family presents the Jon Vesper Award to Coach Messore // photo courtesy of Bryon DeYoung

“I learned a lot of life lessons from it,” said Messore reflecting on his time as head coach of the Red Raiders. “I started as the head coach at 19 and had to figure everything out. There were a lot of veteran guys along the way that helped me out when I was a young guy.”


After the school posted the announcement of the coaching transition on Friday, Messore said a number of former athletes have already started to reach out to congratulate him on an outstanding career.


“Each guy that has reached out brings back a whole flood of memories of different seasons and different kids’ journeys, my own journey. It’s at that point where the program is in a really good place where I can walk away but can still be around it and helping out. We’ve got a lot of wrestling people here, and a lot of help.”


After graduating with the St. Francis class of 1991, Messore took over the Raiders immediately in 1992.

"I wanted to reinstate what St. Francis wrestling was. We had this really great program in the 1980s but a lot of the history and tradition was brushed aside for a couple of years," Messore said. "It was important to me that it returned back to what it was. I’m leaving it in a much better place than when it got it…that was always important to me."

Lorenz takes over the Raiders after the team’s best season in program history. The 2023-2024 Red Raiders dominated in taking the MMHSAA dual meet title, the CHSAA dual meet title, and the CHSAA small school individual championships team title while posting a 25-3 overall dual record.

St. Francis captures the 2024 STWOA tournament team title // Pataky

Following a strong performance at the rugged Eastern States Classic where they took second in the team standings, St. Francis landed a 3rd place team finish in the NYSPHSAA federation championships in Albany, placing all five competing wrestlers led by the first pair of state tournament finalists in league and program history in sophomores Griffin LaPlante and Zach Caldwell.

St. Francis coaches with sophomore Cullen Edwards after achieving 100 career wins

Since Lorenz joined the staff in the 2021-2022 season, the Red Raiders have captured two MMHSAA dual meet titles and have claimed the CHSAA tournament small school team title in each of the last two seasons.

"Ron is totally bought in," said Messore on the new head coach of the Red Raiders. "He seized the opportunity to grow the program. We talked about making this the place to be, to make this a destination school in western New York, and to become a powerhouse. Now that he is going to be in charge, he’s going to take it and run. Ron will have high expectations and grow it even more.”

New St. Francis head coach Ron Lorenz (l) and Messore (r) // Pataky

Lorenz joined the St. Francis staff beginning with the 2021-2022 season. Prior to St. Francis, Lorenz was head wrestling coach at Lancaster for eleven years after one year as an assistant coach there and six seasons at Amherst prior to that. While at Lancaster, Lorenz’s teams captured five ECIC I dual meet titles, three Class AA tournament titles, and competed at the NYSPHSAA Dual Meet Championships twice, first in 2018 as the Section VI Division I dual meet champion team.



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