Chris Scannell Named New West Deptford Wrestling Coach
Scannell takes over for John Craig, who stepped away in April.
It didn't take long for West Deptford High School's wrestling program to get a new man at the helm.
Seven weeks after former coach John Craig stepped aside to spend more time with his family, the West Deptford Board of Education named Chris Scannell as the new wrestling head coach for the start of the winter 2012-13 season.
An English teacher at Cherokee High School, Scannell comes with a long wrestling pedigree, from his high school days at Haddonfield to his college career at NYU. Since then, he's spent time coaching at Audubon, Triton and Lenape.
Now, with a shot at taking over an established program, Scannell said he's thrilled for the opportunity.
"The pieces are already there," he said. "We're going to set our goals high."
Specifically, goals like repeating as conference champions, shooting for a Group 2 title and getting wrestlers on to—and on top of—the podium in Atlantic City in the annual state tournament.
He knows it won't be easy, given the quality of competition from perennial favorites like Haddonfield and Paulsboro in the Colonial Conference, but said he believes the wrestlers can meet those challenges.
"With a town like West Deptford, the kids are already motivated," Scannell said.
What the staff will look like around him and what steps need to be taken to get to the next level remain to be seen, Scannell said, but he's already planning a meeting with the wrestlers, and said training plans are in the works.
It's not just the varsity standouts, like Region 8 champ Tyler Kaminski or state placewinner Rory Bonner, who Scannell wants to focus on—creating depth and continuing to build on the successes in the middle school and JV programs are just as important, Scannell said.
And given what he's seen around both the high school and middle school programs, Scannell said he couldn't ask for better parent and community support.
"A good coach can only go as far as the community around him," Scannell said.
"I'm just blown away by the level off passion."
Scannell beat out several other candidates who interviewed for the position, including a pair of West Deptford natives. A total of six people applied, and five made it to the interview process.
School board President Christopher Strano said that Scannell is a great choice for head coach and believes he will take the team where they need to go.
“He’s very organized, enthusiastic and upbeat,” said Strano.
Scannell, who heaped credit on Craig, has a lot to live up to in his predecessor. Craig spent seven years leading the Eagles to 125 victories and earning numerous titles, including the South Jersey Group 2 title in 2010.
This article has been modified to correct the championship the Eagles won in 2010.