The Hart County High School Mat Dogs have a new leader at the helm, and he’s already well acquainted with many of the wrestlers.
Former assistant wrestling coach Sean Gaddy was recently tapped to fill the head coaching vacancy left open after former head coach Preston McCalmon resigned in April.
Gaddy, who played football and went to school at Georgia Southern University, is drawing from seven years of middle school and high school wrestling experience, as well as two years on the mat as an assistant, to lead the current Mat Dogs in his first stint as a head coach.
The 26-year-old from Augusta recently told The Sun he’s looking forward to working with the team which has about seven seniors.
“I’m excited to get back into it and get this program started back to how it used to be with state qualifiers and kids competing,” Gaddy said. “I’m excited to see what the kids are willing to do and excited to see how far they can go when they put their mind to it.”
In terms of coaching style, Gaddy said he doesn’t like to yell at the athletes all the time. He would rather build a relationship with them and have open communication, but still, Gaddy wants to make it tough, he said.
“I like to be a tough coach and make it hard because I don’t think sports are the same without being hard,” he said. “It’s building your body and teaching your body that your body can do things you never thought it could.”
Gaddy’s expectations for the team when they come to practice are to give full effort and try new things.
“Wrestling is a sport where you have to build your toolbox,” Gaddy said. “What are you willing to learn and try in practice to get better at to put more into your toolbox because when it’s all said and done and you get on the mat it’s a one-on-one competition. A coach could yell things at you all they want, but it’s what you’re willing to do, willing to try and what you’ve practiced over and over.”
Coronavirus-prompted restrictions have kept the wrestling team off the mat during the summer months, Gaddy said, but he’s hopeful with Georgia High School Association restrictions easing they’ll be able to have some workouts.
The wrestling team is also adding a new assistant coach, Matt Patton, who was previously the head wrestling coach at Winder Barrow High School.
Assistant wrestling coach Steve Horton will also coach the middle school program.
“I’m excited for the kids. I’m excited to get started,” Gaddy said. “I’m excited about the coaching staff we have and this program moving forward.”