SPRING HILL – Springstead posted the head wrestling position on the FHSAA site Tuesday, but Thursday longtime assistant and former Springstead wrestler Sal Basile told principal Susan Duval that he would accept the job that was already offered to him.
“The transition will be much easier for the kids with Sal staying on,” coach Eric Swensen said after resigning this week. “He has already said that he would take over the team, but he really enjoys coaching youth wrestling.”
Basile, the architect of the wrestling room practice culture the Eagles have maintained through two state titles and 16 individual state champions, needed a few days to consider the offer, but decided to succeed Swensen, the eight-year coach.
The commitment will include far more time dedicated to the program. After speaking with his family, Basile decided to continue the tradition of excellence he has helped build at his alma mater.
“I wanted to see if we could find a coach to come in and become part of what we’re trying to do here, fit in with the culture,” Basile said. “Most coaches want to come in and do things their way, which makes sense, but what we’re doing (at Springstead) right now is working, and I want to make sure that we keep that going.”
Basile was named the National Wrestling Coaches Association Southeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 2011 and emphasizes endurance and technique.
As a prep grappler, Basile placed at state in 1993 under Hall of Fame Springstead coach Bob Levija. He will head into the 2012 campaign with three state placers returning (Matt Landgraff, Conor Ross and Jordan Rivera).
Basile has already begun inquiring about assistants and spoke to former two-time Hernando state placer Charley Combs about helping with the program. Combs, the son of Hall of Fame coach Bill Combs, competed in the U.S. Olympic wrestling trials in April.