Although updating the records remains a work in progress, it’s fair to say few have accomplished in Michigan high school wrestling what Hudson coach Scott Marry has over the last 24 seasons.
He’s one of just a handful of coaches who have won more than 600 matches – he’s 630-135 after this Finals weekend – and Hudson is one of only three programs to win four or more consecutive team championships since 1988, the first season MHSAA team titles were decided by dual matches instead of the Individual Finals results. The Tigers beat Shelby 33-22 in Saturday’s Division 4 Final at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena.
Marry is a Hudson alum, having graduated in 1983 before attending Adrian College. He also coached the junior varsity football team for 11 seasons.
Of roughly 270 students at Hudson High, 27 were on the wrestling team this season, including Marry’s son Devan – who has signed with Eastern Michigan for next season. We caught up with Scott Marry after Saturday’s championship match.
It’s four titles in a row.
I’m numb right now. I’m lost for words. I’m happy for these seniors. Most of these seniors were on that football team (in 2010) that was a state title also, so they’ve won five state titles. They have five championship rings. They were in another (football) Finals against Traverse City (St. Francis, in 2009). So they’ve been in seven Finals contests.
About 10 percent of your school’s enrollment is on the wrestling team. How were you able to create so much interest in the program?
They want to be part of something successful. The kids know that hard work pays off. They really do. This didn’t start this year. I’ve had these kids in the program for years. Every one of these seniors, I’ve known them seven or eight years. They’re my boy’s best friends. That’s a huge advantage.
And I don’t think that just because the senior class was so good that this is going to be the end of Hudson wrestling, by any means. But those seniors had a big part to do with what happened today.
Although you’ve won four straight titles, is this one more special because you know these seniors so well?
Definitely. We’ve been bawling all day. We’ve been hugging and crying and saying good-bye, and promising each other that no matter what – win, lose or draw – we were going to have these same feelings for each other when we were done. But this is a little bit sweeter. I get to say good-bye to six guys that I’ve shared a lot of time with. And in a good way – it’s a positive saying good-bye, not a negative one. I’m going to miss them all.
What keeps you coming back every year?
The student athletes. The community. … I think, to give these kids something to look forward to, something to work for, that’s the least I can do.
While fans are settling into another season, Michigan State Police Lt. Tedric Gibbs has been fully immersed in football for months.
The Jackson Post’s assistant post commander serves as assistant coach for Jackson High School’s varsity football team and for the team at Parkside Middle School.
“I started coaching when my older son was in youth sports, as a way to do something together that we both love,” Gibbs said. “My younger son followed the same path, so I joined his team too. I grew up in Jackson and am grateful to be able to serve my hometown from the sidelines and at our post.”
Some 400 miles north, Lt. Mark Giannunzio is also a familiar face in and on the field. The MSP Negaunee Post assistant post commander and Eighth District public information officer enforces the rules of the game as a high school and college football official, the latter for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“I started at the high school level to stay involved in athletics and make authentic connections in the community,” Giannunzio said. “It’s rewarding to help teach the game and share knowledge of the rules. I currently have a full 11-game schedule in the GLIAC Division II college conference, with high school games interspersed during the year.”
The correlation among coaching, officiating and policing translates.
“With my fellow troopers, I want to inspire, motivate and encourage to get the most out of them,” Gibbs said. “I take the same approach with my players to figure out what they need from me, as their designated leader, to be as successful as they can. In both capacities, I do the work alongside them. We do it together.”
This approach is especially important when tough times surface. Lieutenant Gibbs’ high school team experienced tragedy right before its first game when a player died in a car crash.
“We focused on adversity,” said Gibbs, who was in a unique position to talk from a police perspective too. “It’s a benefit to have that insight and background and share it with what they can control – make good decisions and wear your seatbelt.”
Lieutenant Gibbs incorporates his coworkers when he can, like during spring conditioning when fellow troopers join him and his players, helping all involved to make new connections and build strong bonds between the students and officers.
“One of the most important attributes in both careers is communication,” Giannunzio said. “Communication can make or break an official and a police officer. Much like selling a citation to a motorist, I need to be able to sell the penalty in a calm and professional manner. Demeanor and attitude go together on both the football field and when we are out patrolling in the Blue Goose.”
Treating everyone with dignity and respect is something Lieutenants Gibbs and Giannunzio commit to as members of a modern police agency and in their areas of expertise on the football field.
“Both roles afford so many opportunities to develop culture and cultivate teamwork,” Gibbs said. “The best part is watching others flourish and playing a part in their growth.”
PHOTOS (Top) Michigan State Police Lt. Tedric Gibbs, left, serves as an assistant football coach for the Jackson High varsity. (Middle) Lt. Mark Giannunzio officiates at the high school and college levels. (Below) Gibbs also coaches at Jackson Parkside Middle School. (Photos provided by the Michigan State Police.)