YORK TWP. — If you see Tim Maxworthy, don’t pinch him. He doesn’t want to wake up.
Since his days on the mats at Buckeye High, the 2003 graduate has always dreamed of being the head man at his alma mater.
That vision became a reality when the board of education Monday approved him as the school’s wrestling coach.
“It’s a very humbling, surreal experience,” Maxworthy said. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, something I feel I was meant to do. The support I’ve gotten from the whole wrestling community, I’m really thankful for it.
“Wrestling has always been my passion. It seemed like a good fit. I don’t think there could be a better fit for me anywhere else and I don’t think I could have as big an impact anywhere else.”
Maxworthy, 26, who takes over for Phil Gregor, was hard to ignore.
The only three-time state placer at Buckeye, Maxworthy won the 152-pound weight class in Division II in 2002, finished runner-up in 2001 and was a third-place finisher in 2003. He ranks first in school history in wins (147) and is ninth in Medina County annals.
As a coach, Maxworthy turned the junior high program at Buckeye around in two years. With just six wrestlers in the room in the 2009-10 season, he tripled that number last winter as the Bucks won the Patriot Athletic Conference.
“I think he’ll be great for the program and its continuation,” Gregor said. “He’s very conscientious. He’s doing all the right things and taking a genuine interest in the kids. Hopefully, he can keep the numbers up. I’m happy he got it.”
So is Maxworthy, who anticipates a 2012 graduation from the University of Akron with a masters degree in education (he has a 2007 bachelors degree in English from Heidelberg).
He takes over for Gregor, a fixture on the mat for 18 years. Unmistakable in the corner for the Bucks, he coached the squad to two top-10 finishes in the state, had 15 state placers, three state champions and three runners-up.
“It’s a situation that I embrace,” Maxworthy said. “Phil has set the standard very high at Buckeye and he’s done it his entire career. Having that standard set up for me already is great. It makes it easier for me to achieve the things I see for the program.
“I like the pressure. I hope to do better than him. He taught me more than I thought I needed to learn. The way to do things right, things I never thought about, he already took care of.”
For Maxworthy, taking over for his former coach is more just keeping the program in motion rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.
“This isn’t a broken program,” he said. “There are things I want to do that (Gregor) didn’t as far as offseason stuff goes, a lot more of integrating the wrestling program as a whole into the community. But we’re very similar. There won’t be that much difference in the way I do things.”
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.