Tate steps down as wrestling coach
Terry Tate was instrumental in turning around the Tyrone wrestling program.
As coach, he led the Eagles to a combined 14 wins in the last two years, including a 7-4 mark this season. In his first three seasons, Tyrone had eight combined wins.
But Tate, who won a Class 2A state title as a wrestler for Tyrone at 275 in 2005, has resigned his position as head coach, citing work commitments as the funeral director for the Richard H. Searer Funeral Home Inc.
“We just bought a second funeral home (Feller Memorial Home), so my time is spread pretty thin,” Tate said. “I sort of let a couple people know throughout the year that this would be my last year as head coach. I was really busy this season. We sort of got hit with COVID pretty hard the end of November, throughout December, January and February.
“We do roughly 55 to 60 funerals a year, and adding on a second funeral home that does about the same number of calls, we’re looking at about 120 calls a year. Being the owner and the only licensed director on staff right now, I don’t know what that looks like as far as time that I can devote to wrestling.”
Tate certainly had to multitask this season between work, coaching during a pandemic and being a husband to his wife Ashley. He was able to coach in every dual meet and tournament — except the one-day Southwest Regional because of a funeral.
“I think this year sort of exposed the obstacles that I could face being a funeral director, being on call 24/7 and trying to be a coach, especially having a season where you have to adapt to everything with COVID,” he said.
“You’re not sure when your matches are. We just sort of took what matches that we could get, and it didn’t always work out on the weekends with funerals scheduled and people passing away. I guess I was trying to do three things at one time because I’ve got to be a husband to my wife. She’s extremely understanding and wonderful.”
Tate said he will stay on a volunteer coach if the new coach wants him to.
Whoever gets hired has big shoes to fill. Tate’s first years were spent coaching teams with very lean rosters. This season, the Eagles had a full lineup, won their sectional tournament and had a state qualifier and 100-bout winner Hunter Walk.
“I’m happy with where it’s currently at,” Tate said. “I know between the coaches I had, or have, Mr. (Luke) Rhoades (athletic director), Tom Rumberger and the rest of the boosters, as well as the elementary coaches, I don’t see us taking a step back just by me leaving.
“I think that there are enough people in place and the culture has been changed enough to where we can have somebody come in and do the same thing that I’ve been doing. Somebody will come in and do exactly what I did.”
Tate said he’ll miss the working relationships with the wrestlers.
“I’ll just miss seeing them do something I don’t know if they thought they could do at the beginning,” he said. “That’s probably the number one thing. Winning is fun and watching the kids get better is fun, but seeing the maturity level of the kids that are coming in is what I’ll miss the most.”