Blackburn steps down as Significant Red wrestling head mentor | News, Athletics, Work

&#13 &#13 &#13 Conclusion OF AN Period — Mike Blackburn has stepped down as Steubenville’s…

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Conclusion OF AN Period — Mike Blackburn has stepped down as Steubenville’s wrestling head mentor after 16 seasons and options to guide new head coach Lucas Huffman.
— Contributed

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STEUBENVILLE — While Steubenville is widely identified for its football application, Mike Blackburn did his greatest to turnaround the Major Pink wrestling system.

In 16 seasons as the head coach, Blackburn’s teams received 273 dual meets, 8 Ohio Valley Athletic Convention Monthly bill Hinegardner Class 4A and 5A Dual Satisfy Event championships, along with five OVAC Ron Mauck Course 4A titles and just one all round crown.

Blackburn not long ago declared that he is stepping down as the head coach to invest far more time with his family members, but he’s not stepping absent from the plan he served to resurrect. He will serve as an assistant to new head coach Lucas Huffman, who has been by Blackburn’s facet for the last 12 campaigns.

“We’ve been really blessed with a large amount of excellent coaches and some pretty astounding little ones, as well,” Blackburn stated of his time at Major Crimson. “We experienced a rocky start to commence with when I came in here with trying to rebuild every little thing. From Ralph Petrella up, we have experienced some fantastic youngsters to assistance kick-start off the software.

“Once we received it rolling, we experienced some unbelievable wrestlers and some unbelievable youthful adult males come through below. The support the university presents for athletics and wrestling, is awesome. We’re surely a soccer faculty, but we have normally had assist for the wrestling workforce.

“We’re like a spouse and children, as properly. If the young ones have long gone away to university they often arrive back and want to work out in the (wrestling) place. The kids that remain all over listed here and do the job, they’re the identical way. It’s pleasant to have young ones like that who converse to you, talk with you by electronic mail or text, and just want to be all around since they know they had been part of a little something exclusive right here.”

Underneath Blackburn’s tutelage, roughly 25-30 Huge Crimson wrestlers have went on to further their educational and athletic careers at the collegiate stage, with most of them competing at the D-I and D-II.

“We were privileged more than enough to have some fantastic wrestlers that preferred to continue on their occupations and most of them experienced a large assortment of faculties to select from,” Blackburn claimed. “They were not only fantastic wrestlers, but excellent pupils, as nicely.”

If he has one regret for the duration of his elongated tenure at Huge Purple, it’s not getting a solitary point out champion.

“We had 7 in the finals. There ended up a few that we believed could’ve and in all probability should’ve won state titles,” Blackburn mentioned in recalling Division II condition championship matches involving Tariq Wilson and Greg Moray right off the top rated of his head. “Tariq just didn’t wrestle like he was capable of the a single yr, and Greg was successful by a stage late in the match only to get called for stalling and then losing in overtime.”

An additional specific who experienced a reputable shot at a point out title was Branko Busick.

“He received hurt although profitable in the quarterfinals and couldn’t keep on,” Blackburn claimed. “He would have gained a condition title.”

Steubenville also received 7 Division II sectional championships, a pair of Eastern District titles and had been district runners-up 5 moments. They also were being Division II Regional Dual kingpins in 2016 and 2021, as very well as condition semifinalists those two years. Blackburn coached 61 sectional titlists, 22 district champs and had 30 condition placers. He was 2 times named D-II Coach of the Calendar year and OVAC Class 4A Coach of the Year five moments, although getting a a few-time finalist for the OVAC Invoice Van Horne Coach of the Year award.

The 2012 Large Crimson staff is the only university to defeat Parkersburg South in the OVAC Ron Mauck Match.

The cupboard is far from bare, as Steubenville returns 8 district qualifiers and just one point out qualifier from 2020-21.

“We’re continue to going to roll like we usually have. He’s been around for good and has a fantastic wrestling know-how,” Blackburn stated of Huffman, who graduated from River Substantial School and West Liberty University “He’s ready to go. We’re going to get better and be even greater down the street.”

 Huffman are unable to wait for his initially head coaching gig.

“I’m truly enthusiastic to get started. I have undoubtedly got some massive sneakers to fill mainly because Mike has carried out a fantastic task with the application considering that he took it more than,” Huffman said. “I’m just happy to be a part of it.

“Just due to the fact we’re switching occupation titles, our mission nonetheless continues to be the identical. We want to put a superior products out on the mat, we want to instruct these youngsters to be respectful and we want them to excel in the classroom.”

Huffman has really an spectacular resume on the mat, both of those scholastically and collegiately.

He was a 3-time point out qualifier for the duration of his times at River. He was a state runner-up at 112 kilos his junior time and completed fifth as a senior. He placed all four many years at the OVACs, ending 1st as a junior and 2nd as a senior. He was sixth as a freshman before bettering a spot as a sophomore.

A 4-calendar year starter for the Hilltoppers at 125 lbs ., he capped his faculty vocation as a nationwide qualifier in 2008.

Ian Whittington will stay on the workers.

“Ian is great with the kids. He has a wealth of know-how of the sport,” Huffman stated.

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