Dave Chavis is reportedly a free man today, with no need to worry about the responsibilities and reputations that have followed him for nearly two decades - namely, how to maintain Brighton's wrestling successes.
After 18 seasons of coaching - including 10 as head coach - Chavis is officially retired, with the weekend's 4A state tournament serving as the finale of his coaching career.And what a career - a 174-4 record and nine straight 4A titles. Those nine have helped Brighton to 11 consecutive wrestling championships going into the recent 4A wrestling meet.
The four losses - to Layton, Granger, Hillcrest and Nevada's El Dorado - are easy for Chavis to remember, probably because they were few and far between. A couple of his satisfying triumphs were avenging the Hillcrest loss the next time around and downing West Jordan when the Jaguars had a 5-1 advantage in wrestlers who had placed in the previous state tournament.
Chavis' formula for the Bengals' achievements involved unity, confidence and team willingness to work hard. "Of course, you have to organize it and get them to do it," he says of the extra-mile regime of workouts and summer camps which made coaching a year-round respon-sibility.
He says the reason for stepping down "is just burnout - it takes an extraordinary effort just to do what we do every year. Success breeds our doom."
His break from wrestling will be a clean one, including stepping away from organizing and supervising the summer camps and extracurricular competitions that he has had a hand in. "Win, lose or draw, I can relax now rather than start the whole process over again," he said.
***** ANOTHER GONE: Another notable leaving the ranks of wrestling coaches is Pleasant Grove's Darrold Henry, whose Vikings won the 3A title a couple years ago - the last non-Uintah team to win the crown.
Henry would have liked to have gone out with his own swan song - having his son earn his third-straight 3A individual title. But a knee injury suffered in PG's 3A semifinal football win against Tooele erased Darrin Henry's senior season before it even started.
Chavis remembers supervising the wrestling section of the Utah Summer Games with Henry a couple of years ago while the two compared coaching styles and philosophies. "We had basically the same thoughts," said Chavis. "That you can't just coach two hours a night."
***** `FAME'-OUS: The Utah High School Activities Association will welcome another twosome as its second-year pair of inductees into its Circle of Fame.
Started last year, the UHSAA Circle of Fame honors outstanding contributors to the state's high school activities and athletics.
To be inducted this year are West teacher/coach Gean Plaga and Orem retired principal Berdean Jarman.
During his three decades of coaching and teaching at West, Plaga has led Panther football teams to four state titles and an overall record of 147-46. His baseball teams have won three state championships and 14 region titles. Honored four times as Utah Football Coach of the Year, Plaga received the National Federation Coaches Award in 1985.
An all-state football and basketball player at Pleasant Grove, Jarman led Orem to a state basketball crown and a string of 78-straight victories in sophomore football. While principal at Orem, he served on the UHSAA board of directors and was appointed to the National Federal High School Basketball Rules Committee. A high school and collegiate official, he continues to work as a Western Athletic Conference official.
***** RECRUITING RECAP: A quick recap of the local prep gridders who signed national letters-of-intent midweek to attend one of the state's five four-year colleges:
BYU: Bonneville receiver Jason Cooper and Alta running back Chad Knowles.
Utah: Rich running back/defensive end Jeff Jex, and Orem quarterback/defensive back Brian Rowley.
Utah State: Mountain Crest lineman Jerry Bargsley, Weber lineman Jed DeVries, Mountain Crest lineman Jaceson Maughan, East lineman Alex Mohr, San Juan receiver Jimmy Ray, Olympus lineman Theran Selph, Logan quarterback Todd Wilson, and Roy lineman Travis Wood.
Weber State: Davis lineman Fred Bartley, Davis lineman Doug Beard, Bingham lineman Shane Fisher, Ogden kicker Aaron Price, and Mountain Crest linebacker Ava Toialoa.
Southern Utah State: Cedar City defensive back Shane Adair, Cedar City defensive back Glen Bauer, Tooele running back/defensive back Darren Faddis, Millard lineman Richard Hatton, Judge Memorial lineman Dave Kolesky, Murray linebacker Brandon Lundeen, Cedar City defensive back Shaun Morrell, Union lineman Jim Smith, Millard lineman Stacy Stephenson, Olympus receiver Marty Thomas, and Millard lineman Clint Turner.