The reason for stepping aside from his post atop the Holy Family wrestling program was simple and to the point for Bob Wathen.
“It’s just a young man’s game and physically I can’t do it,” said Wathen, who stepped in for the late Joe Domko last season and coached the Tigers to their best season in program history this past winter.
Wathen sent three wrestlers to the finals in February at the Pepsi Center — Joseph Prieto and twin brother Julian, as well as heavyweight Willy Clements — and when all was said and done placed all four wrestlers that he took to the state tournament including Kolsen Welham.
“Next year is my last year teaching and I just wanted to take a season off and enjoy teaching my last year,” said Wathen, who is an assistant with the football team in the fall and the girls tennis team in the spring.
Wathen’s brilliant coaching career, which spans 47 years, started in Commerce City at Adams City High School, where he directed both the Eagles’ football and wrestling teams for a number of years.
And don’t think for a second that Wathen stepped down because of what the Tigers are graduating. Sure the Prietos are gone, so too is Clements, but between he and Domko, they have turned Holy Family into a wrestling school.
“Welham is coming back. He has been wrestling national tournaments and doing a great job and we have a good group of freshmen that is getting pretty good,” Wathen said. “That certainly wasn’t a deciding factor.”
Holy Family athletic director Ben Peterson is going to open up the job to the outside, but if the past is any indication of what might happen, the hire could come from the inside the building.
“I’ve gone through Juan Lucero, Joe Domko and now Bob Wathen all within the same staff, but we are going to open it up and see what we get,” Peterson said. “I wouldn’t doubt if we get an application or two from inside.”
Peterson knows and understands that wrestling is growing at his school and with the recent top-10 finishes in the Class 3A state tournament, he would like to hire someone that can keep it that way, if not grow it even more.
“We are looking for somebody to come in here and build a program. Joe Domko took us from three kids to a lot of kids and we’ve had a lot of kids with interest within the building,” Peterson added. “What we would like to see somebody do is build a program, like a lot of these prominent wrestling schools have feeder teams and we’d like to try and get in on that and build that way so we are not teaching kids as ninth graders how to wrestle.”
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