After nine state championships and more than three decades, Simley High School assistant wrestling coach Mark Madigan was, on May 9, named the National Wrestling Coaches Association’s (NWCA) Regional Scholastic Assistant Head Coach of the Year
He is currently in the running for the NWCA’s Scholastic National Awards.
Patch caught up with Madigan at Inver Grove Heights Middle School, where he teaches math, to discuss his passion for coaching and his history of success.
IGH Patch: What is the most rewarding part of coaching for you?
Mark Madigan: To see the kids from when you first meet them, maybe in ninth grade, maybe in middle school, and to see how they improve as the years go along.
IGH Patch: What’s the greatest challenge of coaching?
Madigan: To make sure that everybody is on the same page with the staff, and everybody that’s there wants to improve at the same level we want them to improve at.
IGH Patch: How do you feel about winning this award?
Madigan: I’m a laid back kind of person. But I kind of take it as, it’s like a team award, because we’ve all been together as coaches working together for a long time, and I feel honored to get the award.
IGH Patch: How long have you and the team of coaches you work with now been together?
Madigan: Well, I started coaching with Jim Short … when he was the head coach. We coached together for twenty-some years. And now, he’s still coaching with us (as an assistant), but his son, Will, is the head coach. I coached Will … and now I’m coaching Will’s kid.
IGH Patch: If I can just have you talk a little bit more about the rewards of coaching and what it is about coaching that makes it special?
Madigan: What I really like about it is, wrestling, when you get out there, it’s a one-on-one … when you’re out there on the mat. So, you’ve got to make sure that you get the kid ready to be by himself out there.
We’ve had teams that haven’t won the state tournament that have been rewarding teams. But when you get down there and you can say that you were the best and you had the kids ready at the right time to be the best … Everybody knows Simley High School right now because of wrestling, and that’s nice.