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Martin returns to mats as St. James' new coach

April 29, 2006|By ANDREW MASON

Chuck Martin could only stay away from the Washington County wrestling scene for so long - almost three years to be more exact.

Martin, 42, of Halfway became the new varsity head coach at St. James on Friday, taking over for Jesse Young. Young, who held the post for two years, is leaving St. James for The Hill School in Pottstown, Pa.

"I'm out of retirement," Martin said. "Maybe the three-year layoff was what I needed."

Martin coached Williamsport for 13 seasons (1990-2003), guiding the Wildcats to a 115-58-1 dual-meet record, five Washington County titles, three MVAL crowns and a Maryland Class 2A-1A West tournament championship.

However, Martin - a 1981 Williamsport graduate who starred on the mats for the Wildcats - said the decision for him to leave Williamsport in 2003 was not his.

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"John Davidson (Williamsport's principal) called my assistant (Mike Rechtorovic) and gave him my job," Martin said. "I didn't like the way it was handled, no phone call or anything. That kind of left a bad taste in my mouth for the Washington County public school system.

"I was pleasantly surprised when St. James called me. A private school will be a good fit for me."

St. James had a winning record in each of Young's two seasons, going 26-17 overall and winning a share of the Mid Atlantic Conference title in 2005.

Young will continue to coach wrestling at The Hill, which competes in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League with Tri-State power Mercersburg Academy and national powerhouse Blair.

"It's an opportunity at a much larger school, to see what else is out there," Young said. "But I appreciate the opportunity that St. James has given me."

Martin has worked as a federal police officer at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., since February 2005.

"I should be home from work in plenty of time to make it to practice," Martin said. "When I get into something, I like to commit 100 percent."

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