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  • Writer's pictureCory Kundert

The Struggle Will Strengthen You - Cody Endres - Episode 3

Updated: Feb 5, 2022

Cody Endres epitomizes the small town dream. At sixteen, he set his sights on becoming a teacher and coach. Most kids don't know what they want to eat for lunch at sixteen, let alone have their life planned out. Cody had a vision for his future that he never let go. A vision that drove him to succeed in athletics and academics in both high school and college. A vision that brought him back to the town that shaped him, Lodi. From afar, Lodi is a special community. They are passionate about their town and their high school. Lodi folks bleed blue and it shows in the classroom, on the competition field, and anywhere in between.

Growing up, Cody tried his hand at multiple sports: baseball, football, basketball (yes, I said basketball!), wrestling, and track and field. Two sports really stuck with him growing up: football and wrestling. He was prolific on the football field. He had set his sights on becoming a college football player if he had won a WIAA State Wrestling Championship his senior year. Cody was a three-time state place winner for the Lodi Wrestling program, one of the most historic wrestling programs in Wisconsin. As a freshman, Cody saw some success but did not make it out of the Regional tournament. He got fifth place out of five wrestlers at Regionals. The very next year, Cody wrestled to a third place finish as a sophomore. Now, what went into that growth? Cody had a tremendous support system around him that pushed him to become the best version of himself. He certainly put in the work, but he credited a lot of that growth to coaches and teammates. His junior and senior year ended the same. He lost both times in the state finals. That may be a crushing blow to some, and it was to Cody at the time, but those two losses do not define him. He's taken those losses and used them as learning opportunities. His life may be different if he would have won those titles.

Throughout our conversation on Wisco Legacy, Cody brought up the mantra of The Struggle Will Strengthen Me. This is engrained into the Lodi wrestling community and it is a mantra that has helped Cody get through tough times. Certainly losing in the state finals two years in a row was tough. He also lost a heartbreaking playoff football game his senior year to end his career. By preaching his mantra of The Struggle Will Strengthen Me, he has risen from those tough times and come out better for it.

After high school, Cody spent some time in Minneapolis at Augsburg University. After training at Augsburg fir the summer, Cody faced some adversity. His tuition was going to be a lot more than he was told It was going to be. It wasn't an ignorance thing. Cody is far from that. In fact, he self-describes as getting into analysis paralysis sometimes. Cody dives deeper into that specific situation on episode three. Because of that situation, Cody decided he needed to make a change. UW-LaCrosse heavily recruited him out of high school. He ended up calling Head Wrestling Coach, Dave Malecek, who welcomed him to LaCrosse. According to Cody, being an Eagle was one of the best decisions of his life. He met his wife at LaCrosse, met great friends, and had an incredible experience as a student-athlete.

Cody received his degree in Special Education from UW-Lacrosse but didn't have a job directly after graduation. He ended up heading back home to Lodi to figure out the next chapter of his life. He was broke, had just completed his wrestling career, and didn't know what his next step was going to be. To go from athlete to former athlete is tough. For years, you're identified as an athlete. That's who you are. Some people can become depressed, lack motivation and drive, and fall into bad habits. He may have had those feelings, but it didn't last long. Cody quickly decided he needed to grind. He needed to work as many jobs as he could (mostly manual labor), to gain and save money. He also needed to find a new passion. He was quickly approached by the former Head Wrestling Coach for Lodi, Chris Persike. Coach Persike asked if Cody would be interested in becoming an Assistant Coach for the Lodi wrestling program. Cody jumped on the opportunity. This was exactly what he needed to do at that point in his life.

It didn't take Cody too long to find a permanent job. He became a Special Education teacher at Ouisconsing School of Collaboration in Lodi. Finally, Cody's dream had come true! The dream that he forged at just sixteen years old: become a teacher and coach. At just 25 years old, Cody was offered the Head Coaching position and he jumped at the opportunity to lead one of the most historic programs in the state. The opportunity was too hard to pass up. This was a place where he had won so many matches, met so many influential people, and made life long friends. Lodi wrestling helped shape him into who he was and now he was tasked with leading the next generation of Blue Devils. He had some growing pains, but he's doing a great job leading the program.

Cody and his wife have interests outside of sports too. As mentioned above, Cody came out of college broke. He was at a point where he was over drafting on his bank account. He knew something had to change. He spent countless hours listening to podcasts and reading articles about finance and became well aware of how he could take charge of his financial future. He initially focused on the benefits provided by the WEA.

WEA wrote a feature article about Cody and his finances: Financial Marathon Man. Eventually, Cody and his wife bought investment properties. They live a frugal life. A life that most people would be proud of. They would rather donate their money to someone in need than buy a fancy car. It's a great way to live. Cody and his wife recently welcomed their first child to this world. You can tell he's a proud dad! I'm excited to see how this may transform his life.

Cody Endres was a multi-sport star student-athlete who dreamed of coming back home and making a difference in the community that helped shape his life. It's safe to say that Cody is making an impact. His wrestling program is developing incredible student-athletes and future leaders. His Special Education students are developing and succeeding in their lives. It's incredible to see someone who had a clear vision for his future at just sixteen actually live out his dream. Cody - I wish you continued success in life. You've had some struggles through your journey, but those struggles have certainly strengthened you.

If you'd like to hear more about Cody and his journey, please check out the Wisco Legacy podcast! This episode will be live on Tuesday, October 5th. You can find the video version on YouTube and the audio version wherever you listen to podcasts! All of those links can be found here: Thanks for checking out Wisco Legacy!


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