Tim Urenda didn’t realize how much he missed Colorado until he left.

Now, he’ll return to do what he loves.

Urenda will take the reins of Otero Junior College’s wrestling program and will begin his tenure at the school on May 1.

“It’s exciting, it’s definitely an awesome opportunity to take over a program only a couple years old,” Urenda said. “I’m hoping to take over and make it a top-10 program within the next 2-3 years. I think Colorado is a great state for wrestling and I’m hoping to recruit some great talent locally.”

Urenda previously worked as an assistant coach at Neosho County Community College in Chanute, Kan.

Urenda graduated from Colorado State University-Pueblo and wrestled for the ThunderWolves. He won 74 matches under coach Dax Charles.

Now, as a coach at a newly formed program, Urenda will seek “character kids” to help mold the program.

“In my first couple of years, I will try to build a team culture/atmosphere with kids who do the right thing,” Urenda said. “All the little things: go to class, give a lot of effort in practice, just do the right things in all aspects of life. I want some leads who will buy into the program and lead the team.

“Once that culture is established and the kids know what to expect, then I think the success and the fun will come.”

Gary Addington, Otero’s athletic director, is happy to have Urenda on board.

“He has proven himself as a wrestler and a coach, and his academic achievements show he will push our team to be the best on the mat as well as in the classroom,” Addington said in a press release. “He is well-connected in the wrestling world, and as a Pueblo native, he knows our area well. We can’t wait to see what the Rattler wrestling program will be able to achieve under coach Urenda’s leadership.”

The new Rattlers coach is not to be confused with his father, Tim Urenda, who currently heads the South High School wrestling program.

The elder Urenda said of his son taking over Otero’s program that, “I’m a proud pop.”

Chieftain sports reporter Marcus Hill can be reached by email at mhill@chieftain.com or on Twitter @MarcusLHill.