WHEELING - The Wheeling Park Patriots' wrestling program finds itself in need of a new head coach.
After five highly successful seasons at the helm, Sean Doyle tendered his resignation to school officials during Monday as he plans to pursue other coaching avenues in the world of wrestling coaching.
"This was absolutely a tough decision," Doyle said via the phone Monday. "I love Wheeling Park. From my teaching position, the kids I teach, the parents, our pee wee program and our wrestling program, I just can't imagine a better program. It's very hard when you have so many people who've been committed to you and given you support over the years."
As difficult as the decision was, in the end it just came down to Doyle following his heart and ambition.
"At the end of the day, it boiled down to my pursuit of happiness," Doyle said. "I've probably got 25 or so years left in this profession and this decision is where I feel I need to be."
During his five years at the helm, Doyle guided the Patriots to a pair of state runnerup finishes as well as the overall OVAC Tournament title in his first season.
"That was just an awesome experience," Doyle said. "We had some new guys in the program along with guys who'd been there a while, so it was really nice. We were really close in those state runnerup years to winning it, but overall, just the experience of watching some of these guys come through the system and improve each day is what I'll remember most."
One of Doyle's most highly touted grapplers with the Patriots is Kyle Bauer, who is expected to be a starter for Kent State University this winter.
"My biggest goal in coaching was to help a kid have a chance to wrestle at the next level," Doyle said. "And to be able to see Kyle grow up through our program and now pursue a Division I career is awesome."
Before arriving at Wheeling Park, Doyle was the head coach at Wheeling Central, which is where he cut his coaching teeth upon returning to the Ohio Valley.
With the start of official practice just two weeks away, Park began the process of seeking a new head coach immediately.
"Honestly, my discomfort in my decision will be relieved as soon as the new head coach is in place and I'll know the kids in the (practice) room have the coaching to help them toward winning a state and OVAC title."
As for a replacement, Doyle had three assistants on his staff, but the decision will be made by the school.
"In wrestling coaching, you're always trying to seek our young, talented coaches who can be in the room helping the guys," Doyle said.
Whoever takes over the Patriots' program will inherit a team that's certainly not short on talent with 12 starters returning.
"I can still be close to the program this year and it'll definitely be fun to follow them," Doyle said. "I really think Park can have a number of kids competing for individual OVAC titles. I think it's going to be a fun team to watch."
Doyle, who is a Buckeye Local and Cornell graduate, is the son of long-time wrestling coach and current OVAC Tournament director Dan Doyle, who he said was highly supportive of his decision.
"The opportunity is something that's tremendous for the kids of this area," Doyle said. "It's just opening another avenue for wrestling in the Ohio Valley."
Sean, who was recently married to his wife Amber, will remain as a teacher in the Ohio County Schools through the remainder of this year, but will step away from that position to focus on his new post in June.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org