Friday, March 01, 2013
- by B.B. Branton
For two decades Jim Wulf has been training talented, young wrestlers for the Red Bank varsity, but that comes to an end this weekend.
The retiring Lions Middle School wrestling coach sits in the corner tonight and Saturday encouraging his matmen for the last time in the HCAC tournament at Hixson Middle School.
Complementing the all-important teachings of life lessons along with strong hip tosses and half nelsons, Wulf’s teams have won seven HCAC championships.
He has also coached kids who have had successful prep and college careers and a few who are now coaches.
“I’ve had a good run coaching these kids for 21 years and with the new middle school opening in the fall, this is a good time to retire,” said Wulf.
“The faculty at Red Bank Middle has been great to work with as we are like a family.”
While Soddy Daisy (six No.1 seeds) and East Hamilton (two top seeds) are odds on favorites for team championship honors this weekend, coach Wulf looks to undefeated and top-seeded Blake Reichel (91 pounds)to bring home an individual title for the Blue and White.
HCAC Tourney: The tournament starts tonight at 5:30 p.m. at Hixson Middle School with consolation finals for the junior varsity and varsity approximately 1 p.m. on Saturday and the championship finals at 4.
Wulf, a region and section wrestling champion for Lancaster Central (N.Y.) High School four decades ago, has coached numerous HCAC winners, including current Red Bank youth coach Rabbit Turner.
“It’s interesting that one of my first champions was Rabbit as we won the HCAC team title in 1993 (Wulf’s first year at Red Bank Middle) and 20 years later he is one of the coaches with the Red Bank youth program,” stated Wulf who also coached wrestling at Boyd County HS (Ky.), his last of seven years coming 30 years ago.
Turner, who was a state runner-up for Soddy Daisy HS in 1997, is not the only TSSAA state medalist from Wulf’s program as his alums also include Red Bank HS grads Eric Collins (two-time state champ) along with Darrin McKnight who won three HCAC titles before capturing three TSSAA high school state championships and earned two NCAA tournament appearances while wrestling for Michigan State.
Another Wulf product is three-time state champ Kevin Ward (who wrestled for Red Bank and Soddy Daisy HS) who was a member of the undefeated NCAA champion Oklahoma State Cowboy squad in 2005 and now is the head coach at NCAA D-II Ouachita Baptist (Ark.).
With a varied and colorful background, Wulf’s resume shows part-time dairy farmer and physical education instructor at New York state’s Attica Maximum Security Prison. His high school mat experience led him to a Greco-Roman title involving all state correctional facility staff.
“I had two matches against guys with a good weight advantage on me and I was able to hip toss both of them and won the title,” said Wulf with a laugh.
This weekend coach Wulf hopes that his young Lions are able to bring home some medals and send their coach off with a roar.
HCAC Tourney – Top Two Seeds Per Weight
76- 1. Landon Wheaton (Soddy Daisy) 2. Kashawn Cosey (East Ridge)
83- 1. Jacob Kilgore (Soddy Daisy) 2. Jared McAllister (Brown)
91- 1. Blake Reichel (Red Bank) 2. Tucker Gill (Signal Mountain)
99- 1. Ryan McElhaney (East Rigde) 2x defending county champion and undefeated for three years 2. Jonah Bird (Soddy Daisy) defending county champion
106- 1. Brent Settles (Loftis) 2. Colby McKinney (Brown)
113- 1. Daniel Dawson (Signal Mountain) 2. Liam Golden (East Hamilton)
119- 1. Austin Crowe (Sodd ay Daisy) 2. Jonas Shackleford (Hixson)
125- 1. Cade Ghaffari (Loftis) 2. Blake Cagle (Red Bank)
131- 1. Emory Holcomb (Soddy Daisy) 2. Cameron Thomas (Orchard Knob)
141- 1. Truman Ross (Soddy Daisy) 2. Alonzo Heyward (Brown)
151- 1. Deagan Le (Hixson) 2. Hunter Ali (Soddy Daisy)
165- 1. Nick Tucker (East Hamilton) 2. Taylor Ramirez (Ooltewah)
185- 1.Huichan Yun (East Hamilton) 2. Dion Russell (Soddy Daisy)
225- 1. Brody Gregory (Soddy Daisy) 2. Bubba Palacio (Hixson)
250- 1. Murshid Melvin (Brown) 2. Tyler Weaver (Hixson)
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com