Scott Hahn will be returning to a familiar place this wrestling season, as he once again takes the reins of the wrestling program at Little Wolf High School.
Hahn isn’t a stranger to the wrestling program. After being an assistant coach, he became the head coach around 2002. He was head coach for five years before stepping down.
“My youngest son was born three and a half months early so I stepped down early,” Hahn said. “It was three kids at home then, and it was time to get some family time.”
Despite stepping away as head coach, Hahn said he remained involved with the program for all but a couple of years. Last season he was a “consultant.”
“I wasn’t a paid coach, I was more of a volunteer coach,” Hahn said. “I still wasn’t fulltime. I was at all the matches. I probably went to practice once or twice a week, and I wasn’t there all the time. That was more than I had put in the last couple of years.
Even though he wasn’t helping fulltime, the extra time he spent with the wrestling program rekindled his wrestling passion.
“Last year it was nice to be back,” Hahn said. “I took a few years and stepped away from the sport, but it’s always been part of me. I grew up doing it. I had a very good coach and mentor in my head coach, so it’s always been there and it’s always been part of what I’ve done. I realized last year that I really probably missed it more than what I thought I did, or what I told myself I did.”
Missing the sport and last year’s head coach leaving the district opened the door for Hahn to return as head coach this season.
When asked what he enjoys about coaching wrestling, Hahn said, “The kids. I love to see them improve. To take a kid from freshman and as a senior watch him develop through the program.”
Hahn said the transition back to head coach should be easier since he’s been in the position before and he already knows most of the kids in the program.
“It will be different for me in the sense of when I left coaching I had two kids and not three, and they weren’t in school,” Hahn said. “Now that they’re in school, for me, it will be more challenging that way. But these kids are also family.
“I think the kids have already made the transition. They’ve been working out. We had summer camp. Most of them know me from being a teacher here. All of them from last year know me from coming in and helping.”
The bond a team develops is also something Hahn enjoys about wrestling.
“You sit in a room with no windows for two and a half hours a night and you pound on each other and you ride the bus together for hours,” Hahn said. “You are together a lot over the course of a week. You become close. You really get to know the kids.”
Hahn said it is always challenging to get enough wrestlers to fill weight classes, and he said that will be a challenge this year.
“We have coaches in place that are going to be really good at what they do for all kids of all levels, but we need numbers and we need weight classes,” Hahn said. “When we had those good teams we still weren’t full, but we had some kids who were way up here [talent-wise]. We have a couple, but we need to get that depth back so we can compete as a team.”
Despite the numbers challenge, Hahn is looking forward to the upcoming season.
“I am motivated because we have some kids that are ready to go, to take the next step,” Hahn said. “We have some kids that are just coming in that want to be a part of something. They’re hoping that they’re going to be successful. We have a good coaching staff that we’ve put together. I’m excited about all those things. We want to try and build this back up. And we want to try and get ourselves back on the map.”
Hahn said rebuilding the program is one of the fun aspects about coaching, and it requires hard work.
“I want my kids to know this. If they work hard they will be a better person because of it,” Hahn said. “It doesn’t mean they’ll wear a gold medal around their neck, but they’ll still be a champion. But if they don’t work hard then so many things are going to be harder in life. That’s really one of the things we preach in our program. You get the best out of every minute of every practice of every day. Those are the foundations of success.”