By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– After an successful High School and Collegiate wrestling career himself and spending the last three years as an assistant at Neil Armstrong Middle School and South Salem High School in wrestling, Eric Harder is getting his opportunity to take over the reigns of a program as Head Coach of the McKay Royal Scots entering this upcoming season.
“Being a Head Coach, it’s a tall order definitely but the people I have coached with in the past have definitely set me up for success,” said Harder, who’s new home is about 51 miles southeast of his college alma mater at Pacific University where he won 98 matches and qualified for the NCAA Division-III National Championships through the Great Lakes National Qualifier his senior season in 2015 at 133 pounds. “I have supports in place, we’ve got a plan going into it and we’re going to run that plan and I think it’s going to be successful.”
Wednesday afternoon, as the Open Mats period coming to a close with the six-week down period approaching around the Fall Sports season, it was a perfect chance for the McKay Wrestling Team to meet their new Head Coach and their Head Coach to meet them before the start of the season.
Harder mentioned about the strong foundation left behind by former Head Coach Troy Thomas and his staff with the Scots returning two State Placers in Tess Barnett (Girls fourth, 110) and David Rubio (170 State Winner) entering this Winter as Harder tries to build off of that with what he is good with in teaching the basics.
“I’m extremely excited to take over a program that has such a solid foundation, the previous Head Coach ahs done a fantastic job laying down the foundation for what it takes to build a successful team and I think we’ve already got a sense of community that’s going to play a key role in taking these kids to the next level,” said Harder. “We’re going to try to get a youth program set up. Definitely teaching basics, I’m really big on basics.
“If you can teach a kid how to do basic, basic moves every, single time, they’re going to finish more than if they’re hitting really flashy moves. I definitely teach refining the basics and I think that’s going to do us good in the long run.”
With the Open Mats wrapping up for the day, It was a good exposure for the team to see their new Head Coach and their new Head Coach to see them in a relax atmosphere before the action on the rolled out mats in the upper gym at McKay High School officially start counting to more than just some reps over the summertime.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald