Nathan Day's frustration worked through at times this season when his Battery Creek High School wrestling team wasn't at full strength because of illness or vacations or church trips.
The issues are ones all coaches face but were a test of patience for Day, who knew the possibilities for his team should it remain intact. The Dolphins came together at the right time, winning the Lower State duals title in dramatic fashion and then cruising to the Class 2-A/1-A state championship against Liberty.
The state title was the fifth for the school and for Day, the most recent having been 1996. The 50-year-old Day, the Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette Wrestling Coach of the Year, envisions more years in his renewed role.
"The last two years have been a lot of fun," he said.
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Day returned to his head coaching job in 2012 after helping out as an assistant and working with the Robert Smalls Middle School program during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years. While at the middle school level, he helped develop many of the Dolphins who wrestled for the state championship this year.
A solid younger group will be asked to replace four state placers graduating this spring -- 2013 state champion Isaiah Sloan, heavyweight Jonathan Wright, Brian LaBean and Joseph Cuevas, who plans to graduate early.
Day thinks there might be five teams better than his Dolphins to start the 2014-15 season. He thought there were four teams better to start this past season.
Liberty beat Battery Creek earlier in the season before the state title rematch. Aynor, which Battery Creek defeated in the Lower State final, beat Class 3-A finalist Socastee.
"We knew there were some good 2-A teams out there, it was just a matter of getting kids to fight hard to get better throughout the year," Day said. "It's always key to have everybody healthy. Regular Joe in the stands doesn't see that a lot of times, but if you're missing a couple of guys, it can be back-breaking."
Day had many of his former wrestlers in the Battery Creek gym to cheer the Dolphins to the Lower State title. He started at Battery Creek in 1987 after assisting two years at Summerville and stayed through 1998.
The Dolphins won a state title in 1991 and each of the first three years after the duals tournament was introduced in 1994.
Day was recognized in 2010 with a lifetime service award by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame's South Carolina Chapter. He wasn't ready return then.
Now, he's in no rush to step aside again.
"It's a lot of fun right now," he said.
Follow reporter Stephen Fastenau at twitter.com/IPBG_Stephen.