Veteran Tartan wrestling volunteer stepping down


Veteran Tartan High School wrestling team volunteer Steve Jackson with his son Chris at the youth state wrestling tournament after Chris’ medal match. (submitted photo)

Steve Jackson has been a Tartan High School volunteer of Tartan wrestling for the past 24 years.

After the season last spring, he decided it was time to step away from the game.

“It has been 24 years,” said Jackson in a phone interview. “I started with my oldest son and ended with my youngest. He is now a freshman at Tartan and he is the last. I decided I just wasn’t going to do it anymore.”

Jackson went to Augsburg College and was on the wrestling team with former head Tartan wrestling coach, Tim Hickey.

“When we got out of school, Hickey said, ‘You’re coming with me.” I did and it has been fun to see the success the kids have attained,” stated Jackson.

“In the 24 years that I’ve been with the youth program, there have been four coaches. There have been two Tartan teams in the State Tournament. In addition there have been several kids who have made it to the State.

Several through the years have become state champions in their respective weight classes.

“All of the kids I have worked with are great kids. I meet them now and they are great members of the community. They have become good citizens in part because they have learned great work ethics as a result of wrestling,” said Jackson.

Jackson then chuckled and said, “I have been involved in only two other things for a longer period of time. They are my marriage and the raising of our kids.”

During his 24 year tenure as a volunteer for the Tartan wrestling program, Jackson has worked with anywhere from 60 to 70 kids each year. He estimated that nearly 1,000 kids have benefitted from his tutoring.

The kids Jackson has tutored usually begin as kindergartners and progress in his program until they reach high school and enter into the school program.

“It has been the best 24 years I could have spent,” offered Jackson.

“It is going to seem strange not going up there (to Tartan) a couple of times each week. I don’t know who is going to take over.”

For sure, whoever it is will have big shoes to fill.

Former coach Hickey said of Jackson, “Steve has been very instrumental in the development of kids for the Tartan wrestling program and for the kids in our community. He has had a positive effect in the development of the skill levels of numerous kids over the years. He will certainly be missed.”

Wally Wakefield can be reached at wwakefield@lillienews.com.

 

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