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Iowa's Heelan High School hires co-head wrestling coaches

"Two heads are better than one."

That maxim may extend to two head coaches. At least that appears to be the thinking at Bishop Heelan High School, which has named co-head wrestling coaches who already have strong ties to the mat program.

Matt Pugh and Jordan Langley
The Sioux City, Iowa high school has announced Matt Pugh and Jordan Langley as head coaches for the season about to get started.

Pugh has been Heelan's head assistant coach for the past two seasons, while Langley wrestled for Heelan as a freshman and sophomore before transferring to another high school school.

Pugh and Langley replace Scot Davis, the nation's winningest high school wrestling coach, who announced in mid-August that he had accepted the head coaching job at Westwood High School in Sloan, Iowa, about a dozen miles south of Sioux City. Davis had headed up the Heelan wrestling program for one season. Prior to Davis' arrival, Pete DiPol was head coach of the Crusaders for one season.

Although the Heelan mat program tallied a 29 victories in 2016-17 -- a single-season record for the school -- a primary concern was maintaining winning momentum in the face of having the third coaching change in as many seasons… a concern expressed by Heelan's athletic director.

"I've had the occasion to speak with a significant number of student-athletes, parents and Heelan wrestling supporters who repeatedly emphasized the importance of stability in a program that has seen a bit too much turnover recently at the head coach level," Heelan AD Jason Pratt told the Sioux City Journal. "Matt and Jordan are both experienced coaches with a passion for the sport and a commitment to Heelan and its wrestlers. With the two of them at the helm, I am convinced that they will continue to build upon the significant progress our wrestling team has made over the last couple of seasons."

Heelan's two new head coaches have deep roots within Iowa wrestling.

Pugh, who is a native of Columbus Junction, Iowa, wrestled collegiately at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.

After two seasons wrestling at Heelan, Langley transferred to Sergeant Bluff-Luton where he placed eighth in the state as a junior at 145 pounds. Langley went on to wrestle for Morningside College where he finished as an NAIA All-American placing seventh at 157 pounds his senior year.

The past three seasons, Langley has served as the coach of the Sergeant Bluff youth wrestling program which finished last season with seven AAU state finalists and crowned three individual state champions. In addition to his duties at Heelan, Langley will also take over the Western States PRIDE youth wrestling program for young athletes in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Bishop Heelan is a private, Catholic co-ed high school serving grades 9-12 in Sioux City on the Iowa-Nebraska border.

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