Wadley returns to Helias to lead wrestling program

Jacob Wadley speaks to members of the team Tuesday after being introduced as Helias’ new wrestling coach.

Jacob Wadley speaks to members of the team Tuesday after being introduced as Helias’ new wrestling coach. Photo by Julie Smith.

Jacob Wadley thought it was a job he wanted.

And now, he’s got it.

“It was always in the back of my mind,” Wadley said Tuesday after he was announced as the new wrestling coach at Helias High School. “I’ve always loved the program, being raised in such a successful program, you always have pride about it.

“I feel like this is God’s will for my life.”

Wadley, who will turn 32 on Thursday, is a 2000 graduate of Helias. He then wrestled at Meramec Community College and Lindenwood University and has spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach at Westminster Christian Academy in St. Louis.

“He is so enthusiastic and he has a plan,” Helias activities director Doug Light said. “You can see he wants to get here and get going.”

And that will start right away.

“If somebody wants wrestling to be a year-round activity, they’re going to have that option,” Wadley said. “I just want to give those kids as much of an opportunity as they want or can handle.”

In a similar vein, Wadley said he plans to add a second youth program to the current Tri-Cap Club called the Penuel Academy.

Wadley said he knows work has to be done with the program, but he’s ready for the challenge.

“(The program) is not what people in this town want to see it as,” he said. “I feel like kids are going to sense my joy of wanting to be there every day and I think that’s contagious.”

Wadley, who still wrestles competitively, will bring a change in style to the team.

“They’ll be some new stuff coming,” he said. “I love being heavy on an attack, but also knowing how to move through all positions and be dangerous. I want to show kids they can win a match at any time by using a lot of skill sets. If you have just one and it’s not working, you can lose heart and just lay down.

“Teaching kids how to be dangerous is something I want to bring here.”

Wadley was a two-time state medalist for the Crusaders, finishing with a career record of 110-24. Light said hiring a Helias graduate was not the end goal of the hiring committee.

“The most important thing is to get someone who is going to be good for the kids,” he said. “But people around here know him and that makes it more special.”

The current assistant coaches — Matt Chinn, Steve Wilson and Jeff Pickering — will remain on staff.

Wadley will not teach at Helias. He will continue to be a personal trainer, a job he has held for the past six years.

“All I can emphasize is how blessed I am and how much I feel like everything that I’ve been fed, it’s time to feed that back,” he said. “I have a passion for the sport, a passion for teaching the sport and that hasn’t faded and I can only see it growing.

“There’s nowhere else I would want to be.”

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