Thursday, February 14, 2008 - by B.B. Branton
The Signal Mountain Middle High School opens its doors for the first time in August of this year and Casey Thompson will be one of the coaches on campus to welcome new students in hopes of finding some wrestlers for the school's first varsity team.
Thompson was hired earlier today as the school's head varsity wrestling coach.
The Signal Mountain resident was the head wrestling coach at Sonoraville (Ga.) High School for two years (2005-06 – 2006-07) and has also served as an assistant at Hixson and Gordon Central.
"I am very excited to be the first wrestling coach at a new school, but at the same time a little nervous," said Thompson who currently teaches at Dalton (Ga.) Middle School.
"I started the Sonoraville program three years ago with good success, so I hope I can do the same at Signal Mountain," stated Thompson who produced five Georgia state medalists, including one state champion, as well as a top 10 team finish.
Thompson has been hired to teach special education inclusion along with his coaching duties, according to Signal Mountain Middle High School principal Eddie Gravitte.
"I have known Casey for 15 years and I am confident that he will do an excellent job as the wrestling coach and will work well with the kids and parents," said Gravitte. "Casey’s reputation as a teacher is outstanding and he is a great fit for us here at Signal Mountain."
The Nashville native will have one assistant coach on his staff who will also serve as the middle school head coach.
"My assistant and I will work hard to develop a feeder program in the elementary school or through a kids program," said Thompson who wrestled for Nashville Christian High School in the late 1980s. "I was blessed with a good feeder program at Sonoraville, so I am fully aware of the vital importance of a good youth wrestling system."
“Our 2008-09 schedule will include school’s of equal size to us (approx. 300 students), so we can have some measure of success early on," he stated.
"I know for sure that we will not open with a quad match with Baylor, Collins Hill and Bradley Central," Thompson said with a laugh.
So on this Valentine's Day, the start of the 2008 state wrestling tournament, Signal Mountain has its own beginning in the sport. Coach Thompson will be watching from the stands at McKenzie Arena this weekend with high hopes of coaching mat side in upcoming state tournaments wearing the red, black and silver of the Signal Mountain Eagles.
Born: Nashville, Tenn., 1971
High School: Nashville Christian (’89)
College: Tennessee at Chattanooga (’95)
Degree: Special Education
Head Coach: Sonoraville (Ga.) H.S., 2 years (2006-2007)
5 state medalists, 1 individual champion, 1 top 10 team finish
Assistant Coach: Hixson (1997-2003), Gordon Central (2004–2005)
Contact B.B. Branton at firstname.lastname@example.org