When the Maryville wrestling team hit the mat for the first time this season, they had a fresh face at the helm.
To fill the void at the head coaching position, former assistant coach Dallas Barrett received a promotion.
Barrett’s promotion was in response to the departure of head coach Kody Koster and assistant coach Riley Klein. Koster and Klein resigned from coaching duties near the end of the 2018-19 wrestling season for a violation of school rules.
Despite the lack of head coaching experience, Barrett isn't new to the wrestling picture. He was a state-qualifying wrestler before graduating from Tarkio High School in May 2006. Barrett, who is a former Bearcat, wrestled for the Bearcat Club wrestling team while he attended Northwest.
Barrett later went on and fought in-and-out of the amateur and professional ranks of Mixed Martial Arts, Barrett’s first fight was in 2009, an amateur duel in which he lost. His most recent, and last, fight came in 2014, where Barrett also lost due to a rear-naked choke.
Assuming full responsibility for the program, Barrett brings in a style of wrestling that differs from the past and inherits a program full of well-rounded wrestlers, Barrett said.
“Well, I have brought in a new and different style of wrestling than they are used to,” Barrett said. “I mean, they are all well-coached prior to me getting here, They all had a great start before I got here.”
Barrett said he has a great base of wrestlers and that he has tried to add options to those wrestlers’ arsenal.
“I've had a great base to work with, and I have just tried to add options of different techniques and looks,” Barrett said. “I've also tried to add ways of looking at things differently. I’ve also tried to add different workouts and just trying to get them to do things that I like to do.”
Behind wrestlers Connor Weiss, Gavin Grey and Jeff Stooksbury, comes inexperience that could, at times, be detrimental to the ’Hounds. Despite that, Barrett said, the work ethic is there.
The team, showing its youth, consist of 14 underclassmen and three seniors.
“This team has to keep their motors goin, gotta look for those re-shots and look for those things,” Barrett said. “They just gotta get a little quicker and fix the little things.”
With Barrett coming in, assistant coach Howard Dumke said the youth program has seen a significant rise in numbers.
Dumke had high praise for the new coach of the ’Hounds’ wrestling program.
“With coach Barrett coming in, our youth wrestling club numbers are up between 50 and 60 more kids,” Dumke said.
With the hiring of Barrett, Dumke said, the wrestlers have welcomed him, and his experience, with open arms
“The kids have really been accepting of coach Barrett and what he brings to the table from his wrestling experience and background,” Dumke said. “Coach has made these wrestlers better leaders and has built a culture among the wrestlers.”