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Veteran Ferndale High coach returns to head job of wrestling program

December 5, 2012

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Ferndale High wrestling coach John Bassier is back to leading the program after serving as an assistant for more than a decade. In his coaching career, which spans more than 40 years, he was the head coach of the Eagles from 1982-1999.

Even Ferndale High wrestling coach John Bassier seemed a bit taken aback when he said out loud how many years he’s been coaching the sport at the school.

The answer is 43.

“You prepare for each day to the best of your ability, hopefully have a decent day to a good day, and then you let it go and move on to the next,” he said as practice began Nov. 29. “The years have flown by. I like to keep busy, and I love my sports.”

Bassier has also coached football for the same amount of time, serving as the head coach from 1981-1993 before becoming an assistant again.

In wrestling, he was the head coach from 1982-1999 and is back at that position this season, following the retirement of veteran coach Charlie Morgan.

“Was there hesitation (to come back)? Yeah, because I know what I’m getting into. I know the paperwork that goes into it,” the coach said with a laugh.

Still, when the time came for a new coach, Bassier threw his hat in the ring.

“There were very few takers, and I said (to Ferndale Athletic Director Shaun Butler), ‘Shaun, I’m not going to let the program die that I invested all these years in, and I’d be glad to do it again,’” Bassier said.

Senior captains Reginale and Reggie Anderson said the transition has been smooth.

“I feel our coaches have a good program for us, and they’re working us as hard as they can to make us better. I really appreciate that of them,” Reggie said. “I feel like it’s still the same thing. He’s still my coach.”

There are more than 30 wrestlers currently on the roster — a good sign, considering the Eagles finished with fewer than 10 last season.

Bassier said the goal is to win a team district title within the next three years, but more than the winning, he noted that it’s the relationship with his players that brought him back.

“At tournaments, a kid can win one, then lose one. You have to be able to help them through that, because that’s life sometimes, the ups and downs,” he said. “That, I will always like: the teaching part.”

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