Brian Leggett’s first season as the head wrestling coach of Wheeling Park High School is one he will never forget.
The Patriot wrestlers finished second in West Virginia’s class AAA, Park freshman Nathan Shelek claimed the 113-pound state championship, and several other wrestlers placed at the state level. That success resulted in Leggett being named as the West Virginia AAA Coach of the Year.
Leggett said being named as coach of the year was quite an honor. However, he was humble in accepting the award.
“It wouldn’t have happened if the team hadn’t wrestled so well,” Leggett said. “It means so much, but there is an excellent support network for this team. The kids work hard all year long, and we have the best coaches in the state. This was the best finish for a Park wrestling team since 2006, so it shows how much effort is put into this program.”
Leggett graduated from Parkersburg High School in 2006, and he graduated from West Liberty University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies Education. He wrestled in each of his four years at both Parkersburg and West Liberty.
Leggett became a ninth-grade world history at Wheeling Park in 2014, and he said he was inspired to become an educator by family members who were teachers. He had two grandparents and aunts who were teachers. He loves education, and he believes there are similar lessons to be learned in the classroom and on the mat.
“Education and athletics prepare you for life,” Leggett said. “Students and wrestlers both have to plan and prepare to succeed, and then you have to do those things as an adult. Preparation is important in anything. My students have to prepare (to achieve academically), and my wrestlers need to prepare (to win). You have to learn from your mistakes in life, and you have to overcome adversity. That’s an important lesson to teach students and athletes.”
Leggett thanked Wheeling Park administrators, Ohio County Schools and the Wheeling community for its support of the 2018-2019 Patriot wrestling team. He said the wrestlers accomplished a lot this year, and he expects great things from the team in the coming years.
“The future is bright for Patriot wrestling,” Leggett said. “There were a lot of underclassmen on this year’s team, and a lot of them made it to the podium. We also have successful middle school programs. I’m looking forward to next season already.”
Photo 1: First-year Wheeling Park wrestling coach Brian Leggett embraces Patriot wrestler Nathan Shelek just moments after the freshman claimed the state championship in 113-pound division.