To a casual fan, badminton and wrestling couldn’t be any more different… but Matt Long is no casual fan
“In badminton and in some of these other individual sports like wrestling, you have to have this tenacious, gritty, persevering, attitude and mindset and this confidence because there’s no full team around you.”
Long is currently going on his 8th season as the Metea Valley Badminton coach and is looking to finish the season strong. But he’s also embarking on his new journey as the Mustang wrestling head coach.
“Since finding out about it I’ve been at work, hard at work trying to make sure our schedule is the way it should be, our coaches are in place. That we’re getting a plan formulated for summer camp. That I got something to present to all the stakeholders in the area who are focused and concerned and have a keen sense of wanting Metea wrestling to continue to strive for success and be great.”
And the similarities between the two sports go beyond the mental aspect of competition. For Long, who previously was the head wrestling coach for four years at Plainfield South High School in 2007, there are physical crossovers too.
“There’s a lot of positioning… and there’s how you’re on your feet, legs shoulder width apart, knees bent, on the front third of your feet. You have to have some quick burst and some quick movements to close the gap on somebody, close the gap on the bird.”
And while the Metea Valley Science Department Chair will have a jammed-packed schedule, he’s looking to take Mustang wrestling to new heights.
“Unfinished business-wise, I’ve never had a state place-winner as a wrestling coach. I’ve never a team advance to the highest pinnacle of the season. There’s some things that I really want to see the guys on the team accomplish.”
Nothing casual at all about the coach who’s hoping to steer two programs to places they’ve never been.