Monseau returns to coaching

Retirement didn’t quite suit Vince Monseau.

The legendary wrestling coach from West Liberty University has returned to the sidelines to coach at the high school ranks, which just happens to be the level where it all began in the 1960s.

Monseau, who at the age of 73 lives in New Martinsville, is in his first season with Magnolia High School.

“Magnolia was looking for a coach and no one in the system was interested,” Monseau said. “There were no teachers and no coaches, so (Magnolia) athletic director Brian Castilow, the administration and myself were in communication between ourselves.

“They were in need of a coach. I guess I wanted to get active, and get out of retirement. The situation just presented itself.”

Of course, final approval had to be given by Monseau’s wife of 45 years, Kay. Once she gave the go-ahead, Monseau dove into the position head first.

Currently, he has 24 wrestlers on the roster. And that’s not counting potential wrestlers on the football team, which still is competing in the state football playoffs.

What remains to be seen is whether Monseau can duplicate with Magnolia that he managed to accomplish with Oak Glen shortly after he graduated from college. Five years after he started a wrestling program at the New Cumberland-based school, the Golden Bears captured the state title in 1967.

“When I started the program at Oak Glen, the kids were beginners.,” Monseau said. “They thought we should have a ring around around the mat and there should be cross buckles. That’s the truth.”

Monseau made his mark as the head coach at West Liberty where he spent 31 years (1973-2004). He compiled a 359-221-7 record, coached 72 All-Americans and six national champions. The Hilltoppers finished national runner-up in 1995.

As it turns out, football was Monseau’s primary sport while attending Weir High School until a friend urged him to try out for the wrestling team.

“I struggled with wrestling at first because the coach had me losing a lot of weight,” Monseau said. “I wanted to gain weight for football and it was a conflict with me.”

Monseau has seen drastic changes occur with the weight issue both at the college and high school level. Nowadays, he urges his wrestlers to compete near their current weight. Weightlifting has taken on more prominence.

“You have to get people to wrestle somewhere near where they weigh -they are happier, parents are happier and we’re happier,” Monseau said.

Even though Monseau considers himself retired, he continues to work as a substitute administrator in Wetzel County.

His daughter, Anissa Anderson, was once the statistician for the wrestling teams at West Liberty. Her family lives on the same street as her father, and as one of the orthodontists in town she provides fitted mouthguards free of charge for the wrestlers.

Both of Monseau’s sons wrestled. Vinnie Monseau was a three-time All-American, while Aaron was an All-American once.

“Wrestling is not a lazy person’s sport,” said Vince Monseau, who has seven grandchildren. “You have to work – not only at your skill level but you have to train for conditioning.”

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