After a lengthy spell in wrestling, both as an athlete and coach, Bill Maresh is calling it a career. Maresh is stepping down as Champlin Park head wrestling coach after 31 years in the position.
As is the case with most longtime coaches, there isn’t any specific reason why Maresh is stepping down. To him, it just felt like the right time. He says he’ll finally be able to have some free time with his wife in the winter with head coaching duties off his plate.
“We’ve been married 41 years and never had a winter off. This next winter will be interesting! We’ll be able to do a few things,” Maresh said.
Maresh grew up in Minnesota and wrestled for Blaine. He excelled with the Bengals and competed at the state tournament. He then competed for Team USA at the age group world championships, coming in second place twice in the greco-roman style in 1978 and 1979.
He went on to compete in the military and ended up at Brigham Young University after that. He said ever since high school, he’s always been a coach in some capacity.
“I was always coaching,” Maresh said. “Even in high school as I finished, I would come back and coach the youth teams. I was club coaching from as early as 18-19 years old. Out of the military I came back and coached the club.”
At BYU, he was an assistant coach, which led to him taking the wrestling coaching job at Uintah High School in Maeser, Utah. He led them to multiple team state championships before finally heading back home to Minnesota.
Taking over as Champlin Park head coach in 1992, Maresh settled down to give back to the sport he loves and has learned so much from.
“Teachers, coaches, what you’re trying to do, of course get some education to them, you’re trying to develop men and women,” Maresh said. “You’re taking boys and girls and you’re trying to make them good, successful men and women.”
While Champlin Park hasn’t been a notable name in the wrestling community, the impact that Maresh has had on student-athletes has been immense. As he puts it, it’s not always the best athletes that have the greatest success stories.
“The success stories are never in the newspaper. They’re the ones that probably aren’t even varsity kids,” Maresh said. “They were so shy, they were so out of shape, and when they leave you as a senior, they have confidence, they look better, they feel better, they’re healthier. No one writes a story about them because they’re not winning the gold medal. Those are the true success stories, the ones that you see become men and women.”
Wrestling is one of the unique sports that is both a team and individual sport. That aspect stresses the importance of both setting your own personal goals while also keeping the greater team aspect in mind.
“I love the team aspect of the sport where you can make it as a team, but that individual aspect that you learn about yourself,” Maresh said. “I really believe that wrestling helps you understand things can become uncomfortable. Things may be not going well, but I can still succeed. I can overcome this. I think all athletes learn that, but individual sports, wrestling especially, if they can wrestle, things in their life will be easier if they remember the principles they learned from the sport.”
During his time with the Rebels, Maresh oversaw six individual state championships between 2004-2008. The champions were Kyle Massey at 275 lbs and Mike Maresh at 215 lbs in 2004, Sam Maresh at 215 lbs in 2006, 285 lbs in 2007 and 2008, and Josh Wiseman at 130 lbs in 2007.
Maresh also oversaw Champlin Park reach the state tournament for the first time in school history in 2012.
He said one of the best highlights of his time as a coach was being able to coach his sons and nephew that were on the team.
“It’s different when you’re sitting in the corner and it’s your nephew or son,” Maresh said. “You watch the ups and downs. My last son Sammy was a three-time state champion. We have multiple coaches and we always ask the kids what coach do you want in the corner. To always hear my boys say ‘I don’t care who's in my corner as long as my dad is in my corner,’ that’s emotional.”
He has also been a teacher in the school and ran for a seat in Minnesota House District 36A in 2020, representing Champlin and parts of Coon Rapids.
Maresh said he will stay involved with the wrestling program, whether it be with helping out with the high school or the youth teams.
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