Each year as the Utah State Wrestling Tournament winds to a close, coaches in each classification pick the Coach of the Year. This year, with seven wrestlers in the finals, five champions and the state championship team, Monticello Coach Kent Adair was selected to receive the award. It is the third time he has received the prestigious award.
The Buckaroos had a great weekend and wrestled well in their quest to return the championship trophy to Monticello.
Adair has spent 35 years working to build a program of excellence. Monticello wrestling is well known and respected throughout the state for the quality of wrestlers in the program. But even more than that, Monticello is praised by fans and coaches throughout the state for the quality of the young men in the program.
Coaches undoubtedly made their vote based on the team performance on the mat, which was fantastic, but some argue that what makes him the Coach of the Year didn’t happen on the mat, but rather beside it.
As each wrestler leaves the match they go back to their corner. And there waits the Coach. Time after time throughout the season, Coach Adair wraps his arms around his wrestler. The young men welcome the embrace.
After six minutes on the mat, exposed, alone, vulnerable, they seem to relax with the comfort that the Coach brings. For some, the moment is a celebration as the wrestler leaps into the waiting arms of Coach Adair. For others, it’s a moment of extreme heartache. Regardless of the type of celebration, the Coach holds the weight of his wrestler.
You have to be close to the mat to see the rest of the story. Time and time again, as the wrestlers finished their final match of the season, you could see Adair’s eyes fill with tears.
For some they are tears of joy as their dreams have been realized. For others they are tears of sorrow as he shares their pain. And then there are the tears he inevitably sheds for those who will never step on the mat again. It’s the last time he will sit in their corner.
Each wrestler gets the amount of time he needs. For some the embrace lasts just a moment, and others linger while Coach Adair talks in their ear as they cry on his shoulder, not ready to take the long walk back to the team. His love and pride for each boy is obvious and this it what makes him the Coach of the Year.
It’s 20 young men dressed in orange gathered around a podium in a group embrace who came into the wrestling room 16 weeks ago as individuals but stand together on this night as brothers.
The Coach of the Year is the man who brought them together, the man who molded them and taught them, who demanded more from them than they thought they could give, who laughed and cried with them, never let them quit, and who loved them, win or lose.
Two time state champion Hunter Bowring praised his coach saying, “Coach Adair relates really well with kids. He knows how to have a good time, but more importantly how to motivate and push us to our limits. Coach Adair gets the best out of every kid.”
Austin Wilcox, a three time state champion, says, “Coach Adair has been one of the most influential men in my life. What is amazing about Coach is that he can see the true potential of each young man that walks into that wrestling room. If you listen to him and do exactly what he tells you, he can help you reach heights that you never would have imagined. It’s all about trust. It might seem like he is being hard on you but he is just trying to get you to become the best you can be. I am so grateful for him and the countless hours he has sacrificed. He is a great man and he deserves to be recognized even though he doesn’t think so.”