Thursday, July 19, 2012
- by B.B. Branton
Replacing a coaching legend is always difficult.
But with the hiring of head coach Jacky Blosser – a former state medalist at Hixson High School and college All-American – and assistant coach Aaron Holker – a former NCAA champion at Iowa State – the Clarksville High School wrestling program believes it has the winning combination to continue what recently retired hall of fame coach Jeff Jordan helped build for nearly two decades.
Jordan led the Wildcats to 16 straight region titles and state duals and traditional championships in 2000.
Blosser was a two-time state medalist (3rd place in 1989, 1990) for the Wildcats under coach Roger Vandergriff, followed by All-American honors at the junior college (Ricks JC) and NAIA levels (Embry-Riddle).
He was an assistant coach to current Hixson coach Garrick Hall in 2008-09 as the Wildcats won the small school state duals title and served as head coach at Morristown West two years ago.
“I see this as a great opportunity to continue the winning tradition at Clarksville and Aaron and I are ready to meet the challenge,” said Blosser who was a teammate of Olympic and world gold medalist (Greco-Roman) Rulon Gardner at Ricks Junior College (Utah) in 1991.
“We will have a young team next year, but the future is bright as we have great numbers in our kids club and middle school programs.”
Blosser also understands that with a 16-straight region title win steak on the line and a pair of new coaches in the room, Clarksville opponents will line up in an effort to end the region domination.
“We have a bulls eye on our backs and I am aware that teams will be aiming for us next season which will make it an exciting year,” Blosser stated.
“Aaron will be a great asset in the practice room and at matches and the kids know that they have a special opportunity to learn from a man who achieved All-American honors three times at the highest collegiate level,” Blosser said.
Holker, a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army at Fort Campbell (Ky.), is on educational leave for the next 18 months as he is taking classes at nearby Austin Peay University while coaching at Clarksville HS. He was a three-time state high school champion and won a national high school title in 1998 before his collegiate All-American career.
He placed seventh at BYU (1999) and first (2001) and seventh (2002) at Iowa State, followed by a U.S. Armed Forces championship in 2006.
One of Holker’s assistant coaches at Iowa State was Chris Bono, a former Tennessee at Chattanooga head coach, 2007-09.
The Year of the New Coaches - Changing of the Guard
A few long time head coaches have retired in the last few years.
Here is a partial list of new head coaches in Tennessee and who they replaced
Jacky Blosser, Clarksville ... Jeff Jordan (national wrestling hall of fame)
Jake Yost, Cleveland ... Eric Phillips (led Cleveland to 2011 state traditional title)
Jim Higgins, Soddy Daisy ... Steve Henry (national wrestling hall of fame)
Ben Smith, Bradley Central ... Steve Logsdon (Chattanoga Sports Hall of Fame)
(Smith replaced Logsdon after the 2010-11 season)
Brad Laxton, East Ridge ... Brad Jackson (current athletic director at East Hamilton HS) ...(Laxton replaced Jackson after the 2009-10 season)
Ryan Cooper, East Hamilton (3rd year)... school's first coach
Tom Moss, Sale Creek... Danny Gilbert (national wrestling hall of fame, current athletics director at Signal Mountain HS) ... (Moss replaced Gilbert after the 2009-10 season)
Ben Nelson, Baylor... Jim Morgan (national wrestling hall of fame)
(replaced Morgan after the 2009-10 season)
Mike Newman, McCallie ... Gordon Connell (national wrestling hall of fame, Masters world champion)
(Newman and Connell were co-head coaches until Gordon retired after the 2010-11 season)
Al Morris, Tullahoma ... Cody Cleveland (now an assistant coach at McCallie)
John Lennon, Chattanooga Central ... Marquis Dotson
Joe Jellison, Signal Mountain .... John Lennon (now at Chattanooga Central)
Josh Craft, Chattanooga Christian ... Dr Dave Redd
(Craft replace Dr. Redd after the 2010-11 season)
contact B.B. Branton at firstname.lastname@example.org