Bo Hampton led Reedsport’s wrestling team to its first state title in more than 50 years in February.
If the Brave repeat as champs next winter, it will be under a different head coach.
Hampton is returning to his high school roots as the new coach at Marshfield High School.
“I am so excited to be back where it all started for me,” Hampton said. “I would like to thank the Reedsport community and everyone that supported us at Reedsport.”
Hampton graduated from Marshfield and lives in Coos Bay, where his children are in school.
He works as an educational assistant at Millicoma school, which also will be the practice site for the wrestling team since the Harding Building has been torn down to make room for the new Marshfield Junior High.
Tyler Strenke, who had been the coach at Marshfield, resigned to move with his family to the Willamette Valley.
“The decision to coach at Marshfield instead of staying at Reedsport was made because it was the best decision for my family,” he said.
Hampton and his wife Valerie have three daughters — 7-year-old twins and an 11-year-old — and he looks forward to not traveling to Reedsport for practice.
“That’s an hour and a half every day that I will get back with my family,” he said. “That was the biggest driving factor.”
He said it was a difficult decision to leave the Reedsport program.
“I will miss a lot of the families up in Reedsport, but we will still see you around,” he said in a Facebook message.
“I am so excited to get back on the mat and start this new journey.”
At Reedsport, Hampton helped build a program that this year broke through with the state title, led by three individual champions — Aaron Solomon, Eli Carson and Miguel Velazquez.
Reedsport dethroned six-time state champion Culver, with Christian Solomon placing third and Adam Solomon and Jose Martinez both taking fourth.
In addition to Reedsport winning the title, Hampton was named coach of the year for the entire state by the Oregon Wrestling Association.
Reedsport’s strength wasn’t just among the boys.
Velazquez participated in the girls state tournament and Divinity Farris just missed.
Reedsport built its strength with a year-round program and several of the wrestlers also had success in big summer tournaments last year.
“That’s what gave our kids success,” Hampton said. “None of them had wrestled that long.
“It’s wonderful what they’ve been able to accomplish. It’s what they bought into three years ago. They definitely put in the work to make it happen.”
Reedsport should be strong again next year. Only River Lichte, who lost both his matches at state, was a senior on the squad.
During the season, Reedsport also captured titles at the Reedsport Invitational and the Beach Bash at Gold Beach.
The three individual state titles this year came after Reedsport had two wrestlers in the finals each of the previous two years.
Carson and Christian Solomon both were runners-up last winter, when Reedsport finished eighth in the team race, and Carson Keith and Devin Lichte both finished second in 2018, when Reedsport was sixth in the team race.
Hampton coached the Brave for six seasons.
He finished with a flourish.
“It was kind of like an amazing finish,” he said. “We definitely didn’t expect (a state title).
“Our goal was to go there and bring home a trophy.”