Monseau back into wrestling coaching as Magnolia mentor

NEW MARTINSVILLE – There are 10 new wrestling coaches in the Ohio Valley for the upcoming season.

Magnolia High School is one of those with a new mentor, but he’s far from a rookie when it comes to coaching the mat sport.

The Wetzel County Board of Education recently approved the hiring of long-time West Liberty State College and former River High head coach Dr. Vince Monseau as the head coach.

“This is going to be a challenge and at my age, it’s an exciting challenge,” Monseau said. “At one time, Magnolia was pretty decent, but they’ve never really had a good, solid team, so that’s the challenge.”

Long-time OVAC wrestling supporter Rob Bauer, who was formerly an assistant principal at Magnolia, first approached Monseau about the job during the spring.

“Rob called me and asked me if I’d consider it and I kept saying, ‘no, no, no, no, you need to find someone else,'” Monseau admitted. “There wasn’t anyone in the school system who wanted it.”

A wrestling junkie for his entire life, Monseau wasn’t about to side idle and watch the Blue Eagles’ program fold or become stagnant because no one was willing to take the coaching job.

“First off, I talked it over with my wife and she was on board immediately,” Monseau said. “So, I thought it over and I decided to take it. Now, I am really excited that I did.”

Monseau coached at River for just a couple of years. During the same time, he served as the school’s principal. Prior to that, he was the head coach at his alma mater, West Liberty, for 31 years, coaching 72 all-Americans, six national champions and a runner-up team finish in 1995.

Along with the Pilots, he has high school coaching experience at Oak Glen, Charleston and his alma mater, Weir.

Monseau’s hiring has evidently caused a stir amongst the wrestling population at Magnolia. He had 35 kids sign up for the team.

“That’s more than they’ve had in a long time,” Monseau said. “Actually, that’s probably twice as many kids as they’ve had in the last three or four years.”

That’s a number that could grow, too. West Virginia schools aren’t permitted to begin official practice until Nov. 18. Plus, the Blue Eagles are still in the hunt for the football postseason.

“The football playoffs could delay some guys, but I wish them the very best and hope they win the state championship,” Monseau said.

“The situation what brought me back,” Monseau said. “The school was in need of a coach, my wife and I live in New Martinsville, I know a couple of the kids and there are some really nice kids coming. I wanted to see the program continue and not stumble.”

Monseau, who was named an OVAC Mr. Mat in 1983, inducted to the conference’s Hall of Fame in 2009 and inducted to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Ok. in 2002, didn’t expect to coach beyond West Liberty, let alone make two stops.

“At River, Tom Tisher and Mike Flannery came to me and asked me to come out of retirement and get the program going in the right direction,” Monseau said. “Since then, we’ve turned it over to Eric Rosen, who’s done a very nice job. That’s how I got going, but I thought that was the end. Now, I’ll try to get Magnolia going again.”

Monseau isn’t ready to make any long-term commitments to coaching past this season. It’s strictly a year-to-year basis.

“Talk to me in March,” Monseau smiled. “I just don’t know how long I’ll do it.”