Beaufort High wrestling coach Bill Damude steps down

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comJune 13, 2014 

After more than a quarter century coaching Beaufort High School wrestling, Bill Damude is handing off to someone who wasn't born when Damude started.

Twenty-four-year old Travis Wynn, a 2008 state champion on the Eagles wrestling team and Damude's assistant this past season, is expected to take over as head coach. Beaufort High athletics director Jerry Linn said Wynn had not been officially offered the job, that it is pending the position being posted on the district website.

Damude will still work with the team but said a transition to Class 3-A and other time committments made it a good time to step aside.

"I think it's going to be a good transition," Damude said. "The kids really enjoyed him as coach; he's going to be a good fit for the program."

Wynn wrestled at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He was the head coach at Whale Branch Early College High School in 2012-13 before resigning to assist Damude and begin the transition.

Damude finishes with 372 duals wins, according to scmat.com, tied for eighth among the state's coaches with Bluffton High School coach John Hollman. He coached 10 individual state champions and led the Eagles to a runner-up team finish at the Class 4-A individual tournament.

He coached all-Americans Harris Lawton (1990) and Charles Barton (1993) at senior nationals.

Damude said he always hoped to find a good successor before stepping down and that his former champion Wynn was a logical choice.

Wynn said he would take much of his coaching style from what he learned from Damude but also aspects from his time in college.

"I just worked hand in hand with him followed his advice followed his lead -- he's a great coach," Wynn said. "I actually don't know a single guy better than him, so it was pretty awesome working with him. I learned a lot. He'll still be there to help me when I need it."

The Eagles scheduled their future Class 3-A region opponents this past season to get a feel for what the next couple seasons would be like and fared well.

"We're going to have a very young team," Wynn said. "But looking across the state in 3-A, we have a pretty good shot at making it deep in the playoffs -- at least that's my goal."

Follow assistant sports editor Stephen Fastenau at twitter.com/IPBG_Stephen.

WINNINGEST COACHES IN S.C.

Top 10 dual match records from SCmat.com:

656-87 B.D. LaPrad (1975-present -- Bishop England, Irmo, Dutch Fork, Fort Dorchester, River Bluff)

505-242 Brad Porter (1988-present -- Cheraw)

472-166 Ken Wilson (1983-present -- NY, Lancaster, Spring Valley, Dutch Fork, Chapin)

425-114 Leonard Covington (1984-present -- Goose Creek)

417-104-2 Jack Kosmicki (1995-present -- Eastside)

415-23 Jim Barnes (1971-2000 -- Union, Airport, Rock Hill)

374-104 Tim Wash (1988-present -- James Island, Lugoff-Elgin, Rock Hill, Berkeley, Cane Bay)

372-162 Bill Damude (1988-2014 -- Beaufort)

372-95 John Hollman (2001-present -- Hilton Head, Bluffton)

368-203-12 Troy Bennage (1976-2010 -- Stall, Academic Magnet)

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