Keven and Ruth Glider pose for a photo in Sugar-Salem's gymnasium.

Keven and Ruth Glider pose for a photo in Sugar-Salem’s gymnasium.

Keven Glider’s life has been about wrestling from the start but that all changed after doctors diagnosed Glider’s wife, Ruth Crittenden Glider, with thyroid cancer in October 2017.

As Ruth went through surgery and radiation, Keven Glider started to feel like he needed to spend more time with his family. At the start of this year, retirement started to look like the only option, but Keven Glider remained committed to his wrestlers. Keven Glider stored the thought of retiring in the back of his mind and pressed forward to lead the Diggers to their third-straight championship.

After the season was over, Glider dusted off the idea. After much thought and a serious conversation with Ruth, he decided it was time to move on.

“I didn’t totally make up my mind until after the season was over,” Glider said. “It was kind of a hard decision to make. I’d thought about it, and I had to put it out of my mind. My wife and I agreed that I’d put it out of my mind until the season was over and then make a decision. Then we made the decision.”

Wrestling took up most of Keven Glider’s time over the years. He feels like it’s time to spend more time with his family and to take his wife on the vacations they were unable to fit around his busy teaching and wrestling schedule. If they ever traveled, it was for wrestling tournaments or wrestling related functions.

Though Keven Glider is only 57 (58 in July), he knew he would need to retire to give his family the time they need.

“Life is fragile sometimes,” Keven Glider said. “Sometimes you spend a lot of time doing things, and sometimes things like that happen that bring you back home to take care of the ones you love. You’re not going to see them forever, and they’re not going to be around forever. You better take some time and enjoy it while you’re able to.”

After Ruth Glider supported her husband in his coaching for years, Keven Glider feels like it’s time for him to help his wife with her goals including her career. Ruth works as the Director of Operations for West Cedar Trading.

“I’ve kind of moved around in my career with my coaching and my wife’s followed me around a little bit. Now it’s time to follow her around as she’s working on her career,” Keven Glider said. “I plan to do some things that I haven’t done a whole lot of like spending some time with her, doing some things that I’ve kind of put off and haven’t done a whole lot of lately.”

The fact that Keven Glider’s son, Dylan, graduated from high school and completed his final year as a wrestler at Sugar, made Keven Glider feel like it was the right time to retire.

Keven Glider also teaches at Valley View Alternative School and will continue to teach there until he is eligible for retirement in two years.

In addition to teaching, Sugar-Salem’s new wrestling coach, Scot Davis, has asked Keven Glider to help out with the wrestling team in a consulting role.

“I’ll still be around a little, so it’s not like I’ll be totally far away from wrestling,” Keven Glider said. “(Davis has) offered for me to come up there. I’ve been in close contact with him, and I’ve had a lot of conversations with him. It’ll be more of an advisory thing to kind of help out. I don’t want to be strapped down, but I plan on helping out. My time’s past, and, if he wants some help, I’ll be sure to help him out.”

Keven Glider spent four years as Sugar-Salem High School’s head wrestling coach leading his wrestlers to three consecutive state championships (‘17-’19), three consecutive district championships (‘16-’18) and two consecutive academic state championships (‘17-’18). Keven Glider has also been named District VI coach of the year a hand full of times and was voted Idaho State High School Wrestling Coach of the year by his fellow coaches in 2018.

“He has been an outstanding head wrestling coach for us,” said Sugar-Salem athletic director Jay Miller. “We have just thoroughly enjoyed his leadership. Obviously, his wrestling ability, knowledge etc. speaks for itself. He’s won the state tournament the last three years consecutively. Additionally, he led the team to two academic state championship as well. (Keven Glider hasn’t) just been about wrestling; it’s been about the whole person. We’re just thrilled with the time we’ve been able to spend with Coach Glider. We’ve appreciated his major contributions to the school. We wish him success with what he’s going to be doing moving forward.”

Miller expects Keven Glider to see his name in the Idaho Wrestling Hall of Fame before long.

“I absolutely (think he’ll be voted into the Hall of Fame),” Miller said. “There’s no question he’s been involved with wrestling in Idaho for many years. We’ve just been so honored to have him for the length of time that we’ve had him here at Sugar.”

Keven Glider said he feels appreciative to all those who’ve helped his wrestling program have success during his tenure.

“(Sugar has) a bunch of great athletes there, a bunch of great coaches and administrators to work with,” Keven Glider said. “It’s been great spending my time with them. You spend a lot of time with your coaches, and, boy, we have had a great coaching staff and great athletes that were good for the school, good for themselves and good for their family. They’re fun to be around, and (it’s been fun) watching them achieve the success they worked hard to achieve.”

As much as he’ll miss coaching, Keven Glider is ready to move on to the next chapter of his life.

“I think it’s just time in my life,” Keven Glider said. “I’ve been involved with wrestling all my life, and I’ve been far away. I’ve been around, I’ve seen a lot, and I’ve been around the sport a lot. I still enjoy it. I still plan on being around, but just to stand back and watch other people. It’ll be fun to watch Coach Davis. It’ll be fun to watch how he comes in, and what he does for the program.”