The 16th straight 3A state wrestling champs at Christiansburg High School will have to reload beginning at the top this coming year after Coach Sonny Close handed in his resignation earlier this spring.
Close had taken over for Darryl Webber two years ago and helped the Blue Demons grab two more state titles. Webber had replaced Kevin Dresser who left the school to become the head coach at Virginia Tech.
Friday, he said he took over the program two years ago because he thought it was necessary given the circumstances, but never really intended to be or enjoyed being a head coach.
“I basically made the most of the situation until I thought it was the right time to transition. Also, playing a huge part was the fact that I’m just ready to move out of the area. I’ll be coaching elsewhere but am handling this transition before I investigate that very seriously,” Close said.
He came to CHS in 2001 after serving as an assistant wrestling coach at his alma mater, Woodberry Forest Academy in central Virginia. He also served as the coach of the Virginia Wrestling Association’s Freestyle and Greco Junior Division team.
Close had also worked with the Christiansburg Blue Demon Wrestling Club’s Virginia Elite training group.
Christiansburg is also looking for a new girls’ varsity basketball coach. The school did not re-up the contract of Dee Kelly after one year at the team’s helm.
Eastern Montgomery High School is currently interviewing applicants for its girls’ varsity basketball job and has also posted for a girls’ soccer coach.
This would be Eastern Montgomery’s first ever soccer program, and Athletic Director Anthony Kidd admits the reason is because of the interest at the middle school level.
“An overwhelming number of girls are participating at the middle school as a club team now and had a successful season. We felt at EMHS and in Montgomery County Public Schools that we should listen to what our youth are telling us and the indication is that we should start with girls’ soccer,” he said.
Kidd expects that by the 2018-2019 school year Eastern Montgomery will have either a jayvee or varsity boys team as well.
“The reason for varsity girls is that in single A they are limited number of girl teams, leaving most girls at schools to try and make the boys team. This doesn’t allow for our girls a chance to be as successful as they can be and unfortunately the area doesn’t offer many if at all girl jayvee teams,” he said.
However on the boys side, according to Kidd, many schools in the area have full boy jayvee teams or co-ed jayvee teams so this would be one of many reason s to start with a jayvee boys’ team.
“In order for that to happen though we need to see the same support from the middle school to give us reason to start a boys’ team at the high school,” he added.
Radford High School also has an opening for its varsity volleyball head coach. Jessica Mitchell resigned after one year. The former Auburn assistant is moving out-of-town with her husband after he accepted a new job.
The Bobcats fell in last year’s state 1A semi-finals to Mathews after winning the state championship in 2015. Radford was the conference and west regional champion this season.