Matthew Todd wanted to be more involved in the Hampshire community after falling in love with it ever since his family moved to the area.
Todd found a perfect solution: He would combine his love of wrestling and Hampshire as the high school’s new varsity head coach.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to continue to grow those relationships and help these student-athletes become better people not just on the mat but also off the mat,” Todd said. “I want to make sure they know that I’m there for them, respect them and continue to showcase Hampshire wrestling not only in our school, but our district and our town. Just put our name out there a little more.”
Todd and his family have been in the Hampshire community, where his wife grew up, for the past six years. He previously served as an assistant coach at Lena-Winslow and spent a year as a coach at Hampshire Middle School before serving as an assistant under Randy Mitty for the past five seasons.
Mitty stepped down at the end of the 2021-22 season. Todd immediately knew he wanted to grow his relationship with the sport and the community.
“This opportunity is a great one,” Todd said. “I’m glad the administration has given me an opportunity to lead this program and work with the kids and coaches, continuing to build this program.”
This will be the first time Todd will be in charge of a varsity program. The new coach said he wants to keep some of the parts of the program the same, but he’ll instill a blue-collar work ethic.
“My mentality has always been, you put your hard hat on, you go to work,” Todd said. “In the same respect, you respect the people around you, teaching them not only that hard work will get you somewhere, but respecting other people, having communication with them.”
Todd takes over a program that finished 6-10 overall in duals last season and 3-6 in the Fox Valley Conference. Senior Niko Skoulikaris returns after he competed in the Class 3A 170-pound individual state tournament, losing both of his matches in Champaign.
Todd hopes his familiarity with his wrestlers will help make the transition between coaches seamless. Todd is working on building the program by reaching out to students he sees around the school who he thinks could succeed with the Whips.
“I just want to continue to build relationships with them so they understand where I’m coming from as a coach and they know that I’m going to be working hard for them,” Todd said.
Now the new coach will have to wait for winter. Todd said he has spent the offseason reading books to continue his growth as a coach and he’s ready to get started with his new chapter in the community.
“I’m chomping at the bit to get going as soon as we can.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle