Bachman named IWCOA Class 1A Coach of the Year

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MFL MarMac wrestling head coach Chet Bachman has been named the Class 1A Coach of the Year by the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


After a busy week at the state tournament, MFL MarMac wrestling head coach Chet Bachman finally stopped and took a breath Saturday night. Back at the team hotel, he sat with his brother, as well as one of the team’s assistant coaches, Collin Stubbs. Wrestler Gabe McGeough brought his guitar down. Soon, the group was joined by MFL MarMac superintendent Dr. Dale Crozier, who had his own guitar.


“They’re singing, and my daughter’s singing, and it’s the most peaceful thing as a coach, just to sit and listen,” said Bachman. “It brought peace of mind to me. It was like the icing on the cake.”


For Bachman, it was a week to remember. The Bulldogs wrestled in the state dual team tournament for the first time in program history, and two of his wrestlers qualified for the sate tournament as individuals, with McGeough earning third place. Bachman was also recognized as the Class 1A Coach of the Year by the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association.


“It’s an honor—an honor that doesn’t happen very often,” he reflected. “It happens more often, probably, with some of those bigger schools. The smaller schools kind of get left out sometimes. But it can be done anywhere with believing and working hard and making dreams come true.”


Bachman, who has 377 career dual victories, led MFL MarMac to a 23-3 dual mark this year along with the school’s 12th Upper Iowa Conference championship. His teams have qualified for nine regional duals, won four sectional championships and finished in the top five at districts 10 times. Fifty of his wrestlers have qualified for state, 32 of them placing.


He was quick to deflect credit, though.


“The award is not just a tribute to myself, but all the coaches. There have been a lot of people throughout my career who have helped me and this program get to where it’s at,” Bachman said.


A Monona native, Bachman was first convinced to start coaching by his older brother Mike. He started his  career in North Polk, before spending the last 21 years with MFL MarMac.


“I think it was good for me to get away from Monona and meet some people out there who helped me learn some things about coaching. You try to surround yourself with good people and share ideas,” he said. “Then, to bring it back here to small town Monona was a lot of hard work.”


“But if you want to be good at something, it requires a lot of time and hard work,” he stressed. “If you work, everything takes care of itself and these guys get better and our program gets better.”


 Bachman is happy to have worked with a lot of volunteer coaches throughout his career. This year’s staff includes Tracy Decker, Collin Stubbs, Chip McGeough, Travis Johnson, Mike Meyer and Brent Pape. 


“We’re a small community, so you don’t get six paid coaches like some of these schools do. They’re all volunteers and take time away from their families,” he said. “We all work together and work with the kids really well. We do whatever it takes to make them good student-athletes.”


When Bachman accepted the Coach of the Year Award at a ceremony Saturday night, he saw hall of fame coaches he’s looked up to throughout his career. This time, though, they were recognizing his achievements.


“It’s just really neat to have those guys walk up to you when they’re retired and congratulate you. That makes me feel really good,” he shared. “To be part of a fraternity of coaches means a lot to me. They know who you are, they know where you’re at, they know what you’re doing and they respect your program.”


But while the individual award was nice, Bachman noted seeing his wrestlers do well is even better. During a welcome back ceremony at the school on Sunday, he pointed to the third place medal hanging around McGeough’s neck.


“This means more to me, seeing medals around these guys’ necks,” he said. “I’ll trade a trophy like this for a state champion.”


“That’s why we coach,” Bachman added. “But it’s also the kids who make it through the program and get something out of it that’s going to make [them] better in life. That’s equal to a state championship.”

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