(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)
Longtime coach Kim Hogan takes helm of wrestling team…
It would be a tall task to replace wrestling coach Tim Slater, who has helped mold the wrestling team to the best finish in school history last year at the Tacoma Dome.
But, after Slater stepped down, if there was one perfectly qualified candidate, it would be Kim Hogan.
It was announced last Friday by athletic director Shirley Baker that Hogan had been re-hired as wrestling coach of the Chewelah Cougars.
Hogan was Chewelah’s first wrestling state champion in school history and also coached the team from 1983 to 2010. He produced many state champions through the years and built up a strong reputation of the program statewide.
“I have always approached my coaching from the perspective of teaching foundations and fundamentals that are successful at any level,” Hogan said. “I think that Chewelah maintains a well respected competitive style. We represent the school and community, reflecting hard work and sportsmanship.”
Hogan has served as a teacher in the Chewelah School District for many years and was also the principal at JJSHS before teaching in the Middle East with his wife Cindy for a few years.
In that time, the Cougars have dropped from the 1A to the 2B classification, but that shouldn’t matter much to Hogan.
“When I started wrestling in high school, the A and B schools wrestled in the same state tournament, so I don’t think that wrestling in the combined B tournament is much different,” Hogan said. “That being said, it is a bit of a different environment from my coaching experience. However, the preparation for competition is the same no matter what school size. Good competitive wrestling is just good competitive wrestling.”
The Cougars return state champions Kaden Krouse and Jake Jeanneret to the squad this year as well as several state placers in different weight brackets. Sophomore Zeke Crockett and junior Justyce Acosta placed third as did now graduated Wade Baker. Junior Cole Davis finished fourth in the state tournament, while graduate Gage Smith was sixth. Last year’s tournament was different in that snowy weather caused the state to cancel regionals and just employ a 32-man bracket in the Tacoma Dome.
“Many of the wrestlers are back this season,” Hogan said. “With hard work and a directed focus, this season will be even stronger than last. It is exciting to consider the athletic talent and experience of this year’s team coming off of last year’s successes.”
Hogan would know, as after returning back to Chewelah, he helped on the sideline during postseason matches last year. He said that certainly gave him the bug to coach again, and it also gave him the opportunity to get to know the current athletes.
“It was a bit like coming home after being away for awhile,” Hogan said. “The relationships that coaches build with athletes are rewarding. As a coach, I always see potential and the rewards of working toward individual and shared goals. It was great to be a small part of that in the last season.”
When the head coaching position opened, Hogan said he gave it serious thought and figured there was no better way to spend the winter than on the wrestling mat helping wrestlers push for their goals.
“I think that I have the knowledge and experience to keep these wrestlers on a continued path toward becoming the best wrestlers they can be,” Hogan said. “Chewelah wrestlers will train to compete with whomever might step on the mat to challenge them.”