The Marietta High School wrestling team will have a brand new man at the helm this season as Bill Heldman has been named new head coach.
Heldman will replace longtime coach and MHS alumni Jeff Walker.
"Billy's ready," said Walker, of Heldman, who was his practice coach at Marietta. "He's been around wrestling his whole life, he knows what he's doing."
Times file photo
Several years ago, Bill Heldman, above right, wrestled and placed at state for the Marietta Tigers. Now, he’s the new MHS head wrestling coach.
Heldman, a 2000 MHS graduate, was a four-time letterwinner for the Tigers' wrestling squad, as well as a two-time state placer.
Although Heldman never officially wrestled at MHS when Walker was head coach, he considers the 1982 graduate as his mentor as he begins his head coaching career.
"He's (Walker) been very influential in getting me into coaching," said Heldman. "He's really helped me in learning how to slow down teaching the techniques of wrestling to the kids."
Heldman, who spent the past four years as an assistant coach to Walker, will inherit a very young Tiger squad when wrestling season gets underway in late November.
"We will be in kind of a rebuilding mode this year," said Heldman. "We will have a lot of young, inexperienced kids and it will be my job to motivate them and get the most from them."
It will be a while down the road before Heldman gets a look at his full squad as a lot of the same kids who wrestle this winter will be taking the field Friday night when the Tiger football team opens its season against Morgan in McConnelsville.
"The kids kind of get their conditioning from football and the other sports," said Heldman. "It will be good though to get on the mats and kind of refresh their minds."
Heldman will look to a pair of returning district qualifiers in senior Will Cogswell and junior Jonnie Hedrick to once again play key roles on this years team.
"They are both very good wrestlers," said Heldman. "I think they both will have a pretty good shot at going to state."
Heldman, who is single and operates a small construction company in Marietta, welcomes the opportunity and is excited for the upcoming season.
"I'm really looking forward to it,' said Heldman. "I hope to do a good job for the program and it's just good to help the kids."