Former Thunder Ridge Standout Struckhoff Tabbed as New Head Coach


2012 Thunder Ridge graduate Joel Struckhoff has been named the new head coach of the Longhorn football program.  Struckhoff was approved as the new coach by the USD 110 Board of Education on Monday morning.

Struckhoff is currently employed by the district as a high school paraprofessional.  He’s also currently an assistant coach for the track & field team and coaches the Longhorns powerlifting team.  This will be Struckhoff’s first head coaching job in high school football.

Struckhoff made a name for himself in high school as one of the best 8-man football players in the history of the State of Kansas.  Struckhoff was a 4-year starter at tailback from 2008-2011.  Thunder Ridge went 34-9 in that time, including a 13-0, 8-Man DII State Championship during his senior season in 2011.  During that 4-year span, Struckhoff also broke three career state records in 8-man football.  He still holds those records with the most rushing yards (6,919), total touchdowns (127) and points scored (856).  Struckhoff was also one of the few 8-man players that played in the Kansas Shrine Bowl.  After high school, Struckhoff spent the 2013 season as a member of the Fort Hays State football team.

Struckhoff also enjoyed success in track & field.  A multiple time state qualifier, he won the 1A Boys long jump state title in 2010.

Struckhoff is the third coach in Thunder Ridge’s brief history.  The school opened in 2008, and Jerry Voorhees, who was Struckhoff’s coach, spent the first seven seasons as the head man, going 58-16.  Included in that were the state title in DII in 2011 and a runner-up finish in 2012.  Otis Hendryx was the coach the past three seasons.  With some inexperience and youth during that time, the Longhorns had a 3-23 record.  Struckhoff takes over a team that went 2-7 in 2017, but had just three seniors on their roster.

KD Country 94 & Z 96.3 Sports had the opportunity to talk with Struckhoff about his new gig.  First and foremost, he expressed how happy he was to be back at his alma mater as a coach.

Thunder Ridge and Kensington especially have been known in the past as heavy run teams on offense at times.  During Struckhoff’s career, despite being the all-time leading rusher in Kansas 8-Man football, the Longhorns mixed things up and were much more balanced in some years with a good throwing quarterback in Cade Rietzke.  Struckhoff offered his thoughts on what his philosophy might be on offense.

For our full interview with Struckhoff, tune in to the Sports Ticket on KD Country 94 and on Wednesday morning.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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