CHESAPEAKE, Va. — After a 63 year run, ODU shutdown their wrestling program last year. That left the Monarchs head coach Steve Martin looking for a new gig.
All he needed to do was go back on his resume to find a job he already had, wrestling head coach at Great Bridge High School. Before his 16 years at ODU, Martin coached the Wildcats for 13 season. Were they any good? How does 12 state championships in those 13 seasons sound?
He has lived in Great Bridge ever since he got out of college and knows it's a tight knit community that embraces wrestling. That was the main reason he took the job at the high school again.
Martin also appreciates the importance of a coach on young men in high school. He says, "The high school kids can totally change from the time their in the 8th to the time they're a senior and be a totally different person. I think the impact you can have on a high school guy is enormous."
There's no slacking off when you wrestle for Steve Martin. He makes sure of that, "To get through this program, we are a year-round program, you're going to know how to work and workers generally win in life."
Steve's son, Max is a state champion for the Wildcats in the 120 pound weight class. Of course, Max's father got his son into wrestling at a young age. Now Max says, "A lot of the time he's pushing me in a way that a usual father figure wouldn't. More grueling, harder, but also more loving."
What's it like for the rest of the team as they wrestle for the man who helped start the Great Bridge dynasty in the first place? Ty Chittum has the answer,
"It's awesome. It kind of just brings the atmosphere in the room up. It makes all of us just want to work harder."