GREEN RIVER – After leading Green River Wolves wrestling to back-to-back state titles, head coach Marshall Rhodes has decided to step down.
Rhodes has been involved in the program for 18 years and has led the team for the past five season. Not only was he the architect in bringing back-to-back state titles and runner-ups trophies in 2014 and 2015, he led the team to three 4A West Regional titles.
Rhodes was named 4A West Regional Coach of the year three times and 4A Coach of the Year twice. GRHS Principal Darren Howard said he gets “goosebumps” thinking about all Rhodes accomplishments.
“He was great with the kids and did a fabulous job no matter what role he had whether it was as the head coach or an assistant,” Howard said. “He held the kids to a high standard and had high expectations whether it was on the mat, in the hallways or in the classroom.”
Rhodes is expected to continue his position as a math teacher at the high school and Howard added he wants to continue to be involved with the different wrestling programs in Green River.
SWCSD2 Activities Director Tony Beardsley will start the search for a new head coach as early as next week and said they will be big shoes to fill.
“Marshall has made a huge impact on the community of Green River, Green River High School, and all of the students and families he has worked with as our Head Coach. Not only is Coach Rhodes a true professional, he is one of the most compassionate people I’ve been associated with. Marshall genuinely cares for his athletes and his pursuit of excellence in the sport of wrestling has guided him to the success that his teams have garnered,” Beardsley said.
Former Wolves Head Coach and Lincoln Middle School Assistant Principal Darren Heslep was also proud of Rhodes’ accomplishments.
“I can’t say enough about the impact Coach Rhodes has had on the wrestlers that he has worked with. He is truly admired and idolized by everyone and he is an amazing individual. He has coached at all levels from youth wrestling to high school. Marshall may be the most dedicated coach I’ve ever known,” Heslep said.
While admired by his peers, the ones who he impacted the most were the students of the mat.
State champion Gage Byers recalled the Monday after losing the regional tournament this year. He said the speech Rhodes gave inspired the whole team and summed up what a leader he was.
Byers said Rhodes told the team “I don’t have much to say about the tournament but the team I just watched wrestle this past weekend will maybe place fifth at the state tournament. There is nothing I can do now, I have prepared you guys as much as I could by conditioning and teaching you all you need to know to win your matches and come out on top, but there is one thing, I can’t go out there and wrestle for you guys. You young men have everything you need to win the state tournament and you guys need to get it through your heads that every match counts at state and when next weekend comes around you guys decide if you want to be the team that places fifth or the team that brings home the state title.”
As a person, Byers will never forget the lessons he learned from Coach Rhodes.
“He honestly has taught me a lot! He didn’t only teach wrestling he prepared us for adulthood. He taught us responsibility and respect most of all. He taught us a lot of keys to be successful on and off the mat. He was a great coach that pushed all of us to reach our goals and put in a lot of time to the sport. He means a lot to me and has helped me become the young man I am today. Thanks for everything you have done for the wrestling community and for us wrestlers coach!’
One quote that stuck in Jordan Tucker’s mind was “no pressure no diamonds.”
“I think one thing he taught me and it was more of this year but he taught me how to become a leader on and off the mat and he helped me lead my team to another team title,” Tucker said of the coach.
For All-American Cole Verner, he continues to use lessons learned from Coach Rhodes in college.
“I will always remember one thing he had said to me and that was right before my toughest match my senior year in the final of the Tiger Grizz Invitational. I was wrestling a Fargo national champ and a returning state champ from Borah, Idaho. I was extremely nervous going out because I knew that was gonna be my toughest match of the year. He was standing in my corner as I was walking out onto the mat. I felt like jello and he says, Hey Varmint, go have some fun with a smile on his face. And after that, the nerves left and I let it fly! To this day when I get nervous, I just think of that and I kinda laugh and the nerves go away.”
On a personal level, Verner said Coach Rhodes is a big reason for his continued success on the mat.
“He was my role model. Still is to this day. I’ve learned so many things from him on and off the mat that I will use every day of my life. Already do actually. I still contact him and ask him questions when I have them because he led me to so much success that he’s the base reason I’m going D1 next year.”
While working with many coaches throughout his career, Cyro Montoya said Rhodes made an impression early on.
“Coach Rhodes has been a great help in my career. I’ve had many coaches over my years as a wrestler, and it was a privilege having Rhodes as one of them. Since day one of my freshman season he has helped me better myself in and out of the room both as an athlete and a person in general. I’m proud to have been able to have had him as a coach and I thank him for being such a big part of my career,” Montoya said.
Another wrestler who grew under Rhodes was Gabe Bunderman. Like his teammates, Bunderman said the lessons go far beyond the mat.
“Coach Rhodes was an amazing coach! Probably one of the best I’ve ever had. Most coaches won’t give kids a chance if they haven’t done a sport before until high school but I feel like he took me on and helped to build me to be the wrestler I became or more importantly helped me build to the man I have become. He’s truly an amazing coach and friend,” Bunderman said.
Green River High School
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