By Scott Kaniewski firstname.lastname@example.org -
Matt Brickell tried to stay away from wrestling. He tried to make retirement stick.
But when Coronado came calling again, Brickell, who retired after the 2013 state tournament, acquiesced.
Brickell had been a part of the Coronado wrestling program for 25 years, 23 as the head coach. Now make it 26 years and 24 as coach.
“It kind of shocked me to be back,” Brickell said Friday. “I had made my mind up. It was one of those deals. I’ve got mixed feelings about it.”
Coronado assistant principal Darin Smith asked the Cougars coach to come back for at least one more season, Brickell said.
“I was out. I was done, I thought,” said Brickell, who has coached at least one individual state champion for the past four consecutive seasons. “He (Smith) just came over to the house and we sat and talked. I’ve always believed, when you say you’re going to do something, you should do it.”
Athletic director Dave Howard is excited to have Brickell back.
“We had some good names in offers, but having Matt there will make it all so much smoother for all of us,” Howard said. “He’s going to be year to year, and that’s fine with me.”
Brickell will not return to coaching boys’ soccer, which he did for 26 years with the Cougars. That will allow him to focus solely on wrestling.
“I think it’s going to be real nice to be able to do that, be able to spend more time thinking about things,” he said. “It’s a lot easier stress-wise.”
Brickell is hoping U.S. Greco Roman Olympian Ben Provisor joins the Cougars as an assistant coach in the winter, opening the door to a possible successor.
Howard is content for Brickell to stay as long as he wants.
“He built this program, it’s his,” Howard said. “When he says he wants to come back, ‘I don’t want to give this up,’ I said absolutely.”
While he was looking forward to retirement, Brickell admitted stepping away is hard.
“The kids are just great kids,” he said. “It’s one of those things, it’s hard to give it up. Sooner or later it’s time to move on.”