From champion to coach

New wrestling coach and teacher has experienced victory first-hand


Physical education teacher Nick Skinner teaches a lesson to his class earlier this month. Skinner was a wrestling champion as a high school student, but has moved on to teaching wrestling, P.E. and Health.

Alyssa Clark, Reporter

With the new school year comes a wave of new teachers, and as of the new school year, SHS is the new home to Nick Skinner, the new health teacher and head wrestling coach at SHS.

Skinner transferred from Columbus North after five years of being the head coach of wrestling. He says that SHS has better pay benefits and that there is a better pool of assistant coaches.

Skinner says he finds interest in SHS due to its athletic department or its overall environment for the students inside it.

“My first impression of the school is that Southport is athletic oriented,” Skinner said. “Everybody has the child’s best interest at heart.”

In his first year coaching wrestling at Columbus North, he met the manager at the time, Lexi Branch. Skinner says it was both their first  time as a coach and manager so they sort of struggled to get the hang of things together.

While working together, Skinner says they developed a close bond. Branch is sad to see him go, but happy for his opportunities.

He’s been excited to find a wrestling program with potential, and to work with a group of coaches who put the athletes first, rather than their [the coaches] respective sports.” Branch said to Journal in an email.

Skinner says he got his passion for wrestling from his father. Skinner’s first match was in Anderson, Indiana, placing 7th in the IHSAA state tournament his senior year. Skinner went on to Nationals that year and lost in the Blood round (round 12). However, he beat several multiple time state champions on his way there.

Skinner earned a starting spot on Purdue’s wrestling team his senior year at 184 lbs. Skinner’s record was just under .500 that year. He also held the highest GPA on the team that year. He started coaching the next year.

My dad got me into the sport. I was terrible at first,” Skinner said to Journal in an email. ”Dad sent me to some camps and clinics for a few years. I ended up getting pretty good at Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. By my Sophomore year of high school I won a state title in Freestyle and Greco. I was hooked after that.”

Although this is his first year at SHS, Skinner already has several personal and overall goals he would like to achieve.

I would like to raise all of my children to be upstanding members of society,” Skinner said. “I would also like to coach a state championship team one day. Last I plan to open a private wrestling facility for camps and clinics with my best friend when he moves back to Indiana.”

Even though he has a great passion for wrestling, he doesn’t compete anymore. There isn’t enough money to continue and he has a family to support. He just wrestles with the guys at practice.