After 24 years of coaching North Fremont’s wrestling team Mat Clark retired in the spring leaving the spot vacant. Luckily for the Huskies, they had a wrestling coach ready made to step in and fill the spot.
Bruen Cordingley coached the Huskies junior high team for the past five years while working as Clark’s assistant on the high school team.
“He was very good,” Clark said referring to Cordingley’s time as his assistant. “Very good with the kids and very supportive of the program.”
Cordingley was also a very good wrestler at North Fremont where he from 1998-2001 winning an individual state title in '99 and finishing second in '00 and '01. Those teams also won team state titles all three years.
North Fremont athletic director Jodi Beard said she chose Cordingley because of his coaching experience and his experience with North Fremont and the fact he wrestled under North Fremont great Mike Leck when he was in high school.
Cordingley never dreamed of the day he would replace Clark and never really thought about becoming a head coach but when they opportunity came he jumped on it.
“I always figured I’d stay with Mat,” Cordingley said. “It was a shock to me when he decided to retire. I hadn’t really been thinking about it. I love coaching. I love being a part of it. Both my boys wrestle. They’re younger. They’re not in high school yet. It’s just been something I’ve done my entire life.”
A big part of Cordingley’s excitement was the junior high program he coached that has 30 wrestlers this year and has won three straight district titles.
“I’ve coached the junior high team and we have a really strong program coming up,” Cordingley said. “We have a really good future coming.”
Cordingley feels like he has big shoes to fill replacing Clark who gave him the coaching job he maintained until this year.
“Mat did an outstanding job,” Cordingley said. “Mat was an outstanding coach.”
“I don’t know if I would have my coaching career if it weren’t for coach Clark asking me to come help him,” Cordingley said. “I wouldn’t be a coach today if it wasn’t for him asking me and then mentoring me over the past five years. I owe my coaching job to him.”
Clark feels Cordingley will do a good job replacing him.
“I think he’ll be very intense,which is a good thing and I think he’ll work at it very hard and do all he can to make the kids better,” Clark said. “I think he’ll do a great job.”
Cordingley will keep with him Kyler Briggs and Isaak Wentz as assistant coaches. Wentz and Briggs also graduated from North Fremont high school.
“Both of them are high school wrestlers from North Fremont who know our program very well,” Cordingley said. “They’re outstanding coaches, they help me out, they do a great job. They’re very knowledgeable.”
Wrestling runs in Cordingley’s family Husky fans might recognize his nephews Riggen Cordingley, who is already one of the best wrestlers to attend North Fremont and who will look to break a few North Fremont records this year as a senior. And Kohl Nielson who was the other wrestler to win a state title last season.
In proper husky fashion, Coach Cordingley, doesn’t want to bring any new fangled approach to North Fremont. He just wants to keep a good thing going.
“I want our team to be known for what our teams have been known forever,” Cordingley said. “We’re always in great shape. We’re always ready to wrestle. We’re always going to wrestle six minutes. We’re going to be in good enough shape to go the whole match. We work hard and we have a lot of dedicated kids. We’re really pretty basic wrestlers. There’s not a lot of showy stuff that we do. It’s just kind of grind it out.”
Not only does Cordingley look to have the work ethic to push North Fremont wrestlers but his heart is in the place too.
“He has the best interest of the kids at heart,” Clark said. “That’s why he’s there doing it.”