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Leroy Vega

Former Portage coach Leroy Vega, right, has accepted a volunteer assistant coaching position with Purdue wrestling.

Six months after resigning as Portage's wrestling coach, Leroy Vega is back in the game.

His next stop? Purdue.

Vega has been hired as a volunteer assistant coach for the Boilermakers. The increased focus on teaching the sport and decreased organizational responsibilities made an assistant spot appealing.

“It was a big decision for me … with having stepped away from wrestling,” Vega said. “I love getting to walk in a room, not worry about the other stuff and focus on wrestling,”

Vega coached three individual state champions at Portage but stepped away in February to spend more time with his family – he and his wife, Sarah, have three children. He said his favorite memories since taking over Portage in 2011 came when former wrestlers would stop by his house with degrees in hand, steady jobs and even families.

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Purdue originally reached out with a coaching opening at its Regional Training Center, an Olympic wrestling development program. Vega and his family sat down and talked about whether he should accept.

Ultimately, the Vegas agreed on Leroy taking the job. The volunteer assistant position opened shortly after, and Vega jumped at the opportunity to join an NCAA Division I staff. Vega said he doesn't have designs on a future NCAA head coaching job.

“With my family already on board, it was an easy decision,” Vega said.

Vega won two state titles as a student at Portage in 1996 and 1997 and was inducted into the IHSWCA Hall of Fame in 2013. He wrestled collegiately at Minnesota, where he was named a three-time All-American.

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Porter County Sports Reporter

Robbie Weinstein covers Porter County prep sports and Valparaiso University athletics for The Times. You can find the Vanderbilt University and Northwestern University grad posted up on the nearest field of play or in front of the TV.