Coach King And Oak Hill Wrestling Helps Develop Young Men

Posted on January 2, 2019 in Winter Sports, Wrestling

Coach King

Coach King during the 2018 Grant 4.

By CHUCK LANDIS – clandis@chronicle-tribune.com
Successful coaches have a profound impact on young people and their communities, and no better example may exist than Oak Hill wrestling coach Andrew King.

King is serving his 32nd year with the Golden Eagles and has compiled a 421-159 all-time record, with his current team 12-0 entering 2019. During his illustrious career, he has sent 14 different wrestlers to the state finals meet and three have medaled with top eight finishes.

Yet, coaching achievements tell just part of King’s story.

While he isn’t a full-time teacher, King takes pride in instructing his wrestlers on how to become successful young men, and he’s employed many through his construction business.

“It’s unbelievable how many young men he’s had as a wrestler or in the community that he’s put to work over the years,” said Steve Fagan, former Oak Hill athletic director. “That’s part of his community involvement … and he’s willing to go that extra mile to make things better.”

Bradley Rosman is a current Oak Hill wrestler and among those King has both influenced and put to work. Rosman spends summers working on one of King’s construction crews and as a result plans to attend Ball State University and study architecture.

“He’s always been there for me,” Rosman said. “He offers me jobs and helps me in the summers. Anything I need he’s there for me. He pushes me in the practice room and overall wants me to be a good person in life.”

King draws lessons from his own life to coach and mentor his wrestlers. A successful football and wrestling athlete at Oak Hill and DePauw University, he was admired even then for his leadership qualities and how with that trust came great responsibility.

As a senior at DePauw, King received the Tiger of the Year award for his contributions to the football team. Yet, he considered his greatest honor to be being voted by his teammates to be a team captain.

“Being named captain was humbling … because that really surprised me,” King said. “It puts you in a different position as to how you look at yourself and how your peers and teammates see you and how you need to perform and how you need to lead. Those are developing things.

“And because of that you can be the wrestling coach, too,” he added. “High school kids need a mentor, someone to look up to and follow and give good guidance to. Not just how to wrestle, but howto become a man.”

King wrestled for Dan Brauchler, his coaching predecessor, in high school and was a conference and regional champion for one of Brauchler’s best teams. When Brauchler stepped down following the 1987 semistate, he knew King was the right choice for his successor because of his leadership qualities.

“In the time I coached him he had the respect of all the other wrestlers,” Brauchler said. “He was the team leader and others looked up to him. I knew he would carry that forward when he was head coach.”

At the time, King had been Brauchler’s assistant coach for just one year, in his early 20s, and was a lay coach. Then superintendent Wayne Kitch preferred a teacher fill the position, but Fagan said King immediately displayed the desirable attributes for the job.

“He’s a very intelligent man and was an intelligent student,” Fagan said. “He was a competitor on the football field, especially high school and continued that when he got to DePauw. I’ve always enjoyed being around him because he has a great sense of humor, is a very intelligent man and very community oriented, and not just on this (west) side of the county.”

Oak Hill has a long wrestling tradition dating back nearly 50 years and King has certainly accentuated it, winning 18 of the school’s 26 sectional championships and all three regional titles from 2015-17. King said he took over merely wanting to be a good caretaker to the program his coaches, Brauchler and Steve Mutterspaw, had built.

“I wouldn’t say we have the most successful program in the state as far as numbers,” King said. “But it’s respectable for a school of our size, and I have never committed full out in the offseason. I always encourage athletes to be multi-sport athletes … and I’m expecting our wrestlers to do at least one other sport if not two sports. When I talk to other coaches they say that’s amazing what we have done.

“But we have only so many bodies here because we’re a small school,” King added. “In the fall and spring I tell them you need to be in other sports because the wrestling mat’s not open right now.”

Successful wrestlers have a high degree of technical proficiency in addition to athletic prowess. King said his Oak Hill wrestlers haven’t always matched the skill level of other elite programs but it can be overcome with hard work and conditioning.

“There was nothing in particular I wanted to bring to the program,” he said. “I just wanted to keep it going. I knew you may not be skilled, but you can be conditioned.

“A lot of people don’t have god-given abilities and strength, but they can be conditioned,” King continued. “I don’t care what you look like or all the muscles you have, if you don’t have the oxygen to feed them they won’t work at all.”

Oak Hill wrestling can be a family affair, and Rosman had two older brothers compete before him. But it became more for Rosman after his father died. King and wrestling helped him deal with his loss. After he graduates from college, Rosman said he wants to return and help out King and the team.

Since becoming coach at Oak Hill, King met and married his wife Jennifer and they have four children. His oldest son Noah was a member of the first Indiana Wesleyan University football recruiting class and team and is assisting Mississinewa wrestling coach Curt Funk this winter.

Andrew King was recently voted into the Grant County Sports Hall of Fame and will be inducted in April.

“He had the credentials that we look for in excellence and somebody who represents Grant County,” said Fagan, a hall of fame board member.

King, 55, wants to continue coaching as long as he’s able and still relates to the wrestlers. Most importantly, he wants to continue molding and mentoring his young charges for life beyond sports.

“Athletics in general can be a snapshot,” he said. “It can teach you so many things that you deal with in life. You may get beat. It’s not how many times you’ve been beaten but how many times you get back up. You just have to get back up one more time.

“I talk to them about that. It’s not just about becoming good young wrestlers, but good young men and contributors to society,” King added. “Not one who takes from society.”

One Comment on "Coach King And Oak Hill Wrestling Helps Develop Young Men"

  1. Nancy rutkowski January 2, 2019 at 2:14 pm · Reply

    Congratulations Andrew thank you for giving so much to the young people in converse. You have a blessed life, and, we are proud of you.

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