Coach Brian Coon: 29th State Title, MAU was Motivated and Energized to Win
Vermont Wrestler Congratulates MAU Coach Brian Coon: Outstanding Performance 2016-2017.
It has now been a little over a month since Mount Anthony Union High School Wrestling team achieved their 29th consecutive Team First Place at the Vermont State High School Wrestling Championships in Vergennes, Vermont. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, here are the statistics: They scored 289.5 points to beat Essex High School with 172 points for second, and CVU with 152.5 points for third. Twelve Mount Anthony Wrestlers competed for the top spots, and of the twelve, five became Vermont State Champions.
Check out the VW recap here: http://vermontwrestler.com/vermont-wrestling-2017-state-finals-at-vergennes-high-school/
The New England Interscholastic Championships and Nationals are all over, and have been for about a month. Thirteen of Fourteen from the MAU squad qualified to compete in the event in Providence, Rhode Island. The team finished a commendable Third place. At Nationals, they ended the season with three All-American Wrestlers.
Vermont Wrestler congratulates Coach Brian Coon, and the MAU Wrestling team on their outstanding performance for 2016-2017.
These days Winter sports are given way to Track and Field, and Baseball. Thoughts have turned to the future, perhaps off-season practices, or even graduation. It is now what we can pause and reflect on the truly monumental effort and commitment it takes to build and sustain the Mount Anthony Union School Wrestling powerhouse.
Coming into the formal wrestling season new Head Coach Brian Coon admitted to me that he was feeling a little pressure. After all, he had been a part of many state championships for MAU, both as a competitor and as an assistant to long-time Head Coach and mentor Scott Legacy. He knew the gravitas of being part of this substantial inheritance. A graduate of MAU, Coach Coon was part of team in 1993 when Coach Legacy led them to their second consecutive team Vermont state title. Legacy passed the reigns to Coon in 2016 in order to devote his full attention to the inaugural season of the wrestling program at Castleton University.
Speaking to Vermont Wrestler during a break between his Building Trades classes at the Southwest Career Development Center in Bennington, Vermont, where he teaches carpentry, Coach Coon told me when he stepped up as Head Coach, he kept everything regarding the wrestling team the same, the schedule, the expectations. Coon and Assistant coaches Frank Gaudette, and Jeremy Burns, kept up the intensity. They were already doing it right; there was no need to upset the balance. The entire team was motivated and energized to win, everything was in place. Essentially they mirrored all the components from Coach Legacy’s tenure. Coon had nine years of coaching under his belt, and it was a matter of staying the course. Besides, if he needed any advice, Legacy was only a phone call, or stroll down the hall away.
He told me that coaching these days is a mixed bag in that the culture is changing. Kids have so many choices, between work, sports, and leisure time activities, it can really eat up the time for wrestling practice. Some of these sports are much easier for some kids in comparison. In the less arduous sports it may be “OK” to quit. For Coon, this is not acceptable. Wrestling requires that an athlete embrace the ethic of hard work and constant practice. Losses are tough to take, especially when you are wrestler who wrestled as a youth with a great record. Suddenly you hit High School, you have your first loss, and you want to give up then and there. Coon also said that unlike other sports, you don’t have another teammate to back you up in a match. If you haven’t worked hard, or you make a mistake, it’s all on you. Where the team factors in, is the amount of work they put in together. Coach said “…these guys do everything together, they practice and compete at a high level”, so when they are the mat, they don’t want to let their team down by giving up points. Coon also said that this is one of the reasons they work so hard to be champions. By the time they compete at the State Championships the team is pretty much a locomotive barreling into the station without brakes. Most all of the team practices in the off-season, though Coach Coon doesn’t conduct the practices or events. Wrestling is year-round, not November to March.
Among the incoming freshmen to the MAU team, is Keagan Coon, Coach Coon’s son. Coach told me that as hard as practice is, at least the other guys get to go home after practice, Keagan brings “it” with him. Like everyone else he must earn his spot. Assured, there is so special treatment for Keagan or anyone else for that matter. He admitted that he has to keep his emotions in check, but it is equal treatment no exceptions.
Several members of this year’s wrestling team are in the Building Trades class with Coach Coon, which speaks volumes about Coon’s rapport with the team since the class is considered an elective. The Building Trades class students often work on projects in the community for hands-on training in carpentry. Coon said that they were working on building a home in the area for Habitat for Humanity.
I asked Coach Coon if there was anything he would like to highlight and he said it takes a special type of person to see the “big picture” of wrestling. Giving up is not really an option, fight hard, and fight harder, you’ll get your shot. It’s the key to success.
Though there are several seniors on the MAU wrestling team that will go on to college, technical school and the Marines, there is a strong, committed, energized team, with Coach Coon to guide them to make it to the 30th consecutive State title.
We wish Coach Coon and the MAU Wresting team, continued success. Vermont Wrestler can’t wait to see what the next here will bring.