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SDHS’ Henry named A.F. Bridges Coach of the Year

In 1982 wrestling coach Steve Henry became a Soddy-Daisy High School Trojan and never looked back. He still hasn’t tapped out after 29 years.

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Soddy-Daisy High School wrestlers congratulate their coach Steve Henry, center, for receiving the 2011 A.F. Bridges Coach of the Year Award. From left are seniors Andrew Vincent, Brad Peckinpaugh and Brett Erving, coach Henry, junior Jacob Stevens and sophomore Josh Deckelman.

For his continued efforts in the wrestling arena, Henry was recently named the 2011 A.F. Bridges Male Coach of the Year. The TSSAA designation is the highest award given by the organization.

Henry said he was surprised to win the award, but he dedicates it to his wrestlers. He was also recently inducted into the Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame, but said he is more interested in seeing his players succeed than in his own personal successes.

“We’ve finished second place 12 times in my career at state,” he said, adding that his wrestlers have been committed every year to succeeding in the sport. “We were second in state last year.”

Inside the Trojans’ new gymnasium, banners hang from the walls displaying times the wrestlers took down their opponents. In 1989, 2002 and 2007 the Trojans were Duals Wrestling State Champions and in 2006 and 2007 the wrestlers were named Classical Traditional Wrestling State Champions.

“We’ve got good wrestlers and a great support system,” said Henry. “Our parents are second to none.”

In the current 2011-2012 wrestling season, the team is stacked with 42 wrestlers, a large increase from last year’s 28.

“There’s nobody out there that intimidates them,” Henry said of his wrestlers. “They are very confident. This team has the potential to be the best team that’s walked through this school, and that’s saying a lot.”

He said he can’t take all the credit for the great wrestlers walking the halls of SDHS. He said Soddy-Daisy Middle School wrestling coach Rabbit Turner and Soddy-Daisy Mat Brats coach Steve Russo trained the young wrestlers well. He said the freshman Trojan wrestlers all started out in Mat Brats.

As a student-athlete, Henry wrestled at Red Bank High School and ran track at Middle Tennessee State University. He graduated from MTSU in 1979 and began coaching. He coached for short stints at Central High, East Ridge High and Soddy-Daisy Junior High schools before starting his main wrestling coaching career at SDHS.

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