Inside the Mat Room

Coach Haddon (center) on the sidelines watching a match.

Photo by John Pablo / The Skyline View

Coach Haddon (center) on the sidelines watching a match.

John Pablo, TSV Staff Writer

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Skyline College has always had a successful wrestling program. It has always had dedicated athletes, dedicated fans and, most of all, dedicated coaches.

For more than a decade, the wrestling team has been led by Coach James Haddon. Haddon started coaching at Skyline in Aug. 2001 and took a short break during the 2004-2005 season. He hasn’t stopped since.

Dean of Athletics Joseph Morello, Jr. has been working with Haddon for seven years and expresses his full respect and admiration for the coach.

“I really enjoy working with James,” said Morello. “He’s always willing to listen, always willing to share ideas, and he understands issues related to the whole program, not just wrestling.”

An Oregon native, Haddon wrestled for Southern Oregon University where he wrestled in the 197lb. weight division and became a two-time All-American. He won an astounding 100 matches during his college career.

“While I was in college I really enjoyed working with, and helping guys who were newer to the sport or just learning,” said Haddon, “so I initially wanted to be a strength and conditioning coach but as I got out there and learned more I decided I really enjoyed working with high school athletes, then the junior college thing came around so I got into that.”

Haddon’s athletes find it easy to get along with him because of his down-to-business persona. He reiterates the importance of being a student first before being an athlete.

Wrestler Angelo Goumenidis has only been under Coach Haddon’s supervision since the start of this season. He is one of the 25-30 members of the wrestling team who works extraneously with Coach Haddon.

“[Coach Haddon]’s a cool guy,” said Goumenidis. “He’s pretty funny but when it’s time to get serious, he’s serious. He knows a lot about wrestling.”

As a coach, there is no doubt that Haddon is pushing his team to reach their top potential. His goal is to finish in the top ten in the state meet and to turn his four sophomores into All-American status. His influence, however, goes way beyond the boundaries of the Skyline gym.

“He taught me that, to be good in wrestling, you have to be good outside the mat room,” said Goumenidis. “You have to focus in school, be polite to others, and just be a good person. He knows how important school is so he really puts that on us.”