After 17 years and plenty of successes in the record books, Chad Nass has stepped down as the head wrestling coach at South Kitsap High School.
Nass has been with the program since 2004, and his regular-season record is astounding with a total of 185 wins against 23 losses in dual meets. He led the team to a 4A state championship in 2018 at the Mat Classic, which featured two individual champions and eight total placers. The most impressive statistic is the fact that South Kitsap wrestlers had a combined record of 31-9 in that tournament.
But for all the triumphs the program has had over the past 17 years, Nass said what he will miss most is the relationships he had with his staff, the wrestlers and opposing coaches. Whether it’s wedding announcements, birth announcements or just phone calls, texts or visits, Nass has been able to keep in touch with countless former wrestlers.
He formed what he called “true friendships and bonds” with his wrestlers and coaching staff.
“The relationships are what I cherish most,” Nass said. “There are lots of kids over the years who never got to wrestle at the state tournament, but I got to see them grow from freshmen at 14, 15 years old to 18-year-olds over the years and watch them go off to college and become productive citizens.”
Nass said he knew he was in “the third period of [his] coaching career,” but the time away from wrestling during the COVID-19 pandemic gave him a chance to spend more time with his family. Nass began coaching 25 years ago, and most family vacations and holidays often revolved around wrestling.
Making sure ‘things were in their place’
However, it was important to Nass that certain things were in place before he decided to step down. He said he wanted to go out on his own terms, to not leave when the cupboard is bare, and to have someone ready to take the job.
With the program stocked full of talented wrestlers and assistant coach Conner Hartmann ready to step up and lead the team, Nass said everything was in place for him to hand off the keys.
“If I stick around for five or 10 more years and those things aren’t in place, could I walk away? The answer would be no,” Nass said.
His final season at South Kitsap turned out to be a good one. The Wolves went undefeated in the regular season, finishing with a 14-0 record. The team wrestled like champions at the South Puget Sound League tournament last week at the fairgrounds in Puyallup, racking up 421 points en route to the league title, finishing well ahead of second-place Sumner. South Kitsap had six individual league champions and several more placers.
What’s next for Nass?
Walt Disney World.
That may sound like a joke, but in fact, Nass and his family are heading to the happiest place on Earth Sunday after school ends.
Nass said he was thankful for the constant support he received from his wife and children over his 25-year coaching career, which included the sacrifices made over some of those long trips and travel time for the sake of the program.
”They have loved every minute of it,” Nass said. “But at some point, I want to do some of the things we want to as a family. The things they want to do.”