A "big opportunity" swayed Jeremy Finch's decision to officially resign as the Mercer County wrestling coach on Friday morning.|
Finch now becomes an assistant coach at Davenport Assumption starting next season. The decision ends Finch's 17-year run as a coach in the Aledo/Mercer County wrestling program.
Included in the move is Finch's son, Tristen, transferring from Mercer County to Assumption. Tristen, who enrolled in the school on Thursday, finished second in the Class 1A 138-pound bracket at last month's state meet.
"We loved it here," said Jeremy Finch, a 1994 Aledo graduate who spent three seasons as the Mercer County head coach. "It was a great experience."
The most decorated coach in program history, Finch compiled a 77-16 dual record with two regional titles. The Golden Eagles took third in the Class 1A dual-team state tournament last year before placing second this season, the only two trophies the program has ever won.
Seven of the 24 state medals the program earned came during Finch's tenure as head coach.
"Coach Finch has taken our program to a statewide competitive level," Mercer County athletic director Nat Zunkel said. "Whomever takes over will have big shoes to fill."
What led to the move was the chance to coach in "a program synonymous with wrestling." Finch said no decision was finalized regarding this situation during the season.
"With this, we felt comfortable," Finch said. "We know the coaching staff and kids there well. It was an opportunity to explore different areas in wrestling."
Finch said his family will continue living in Aledo for now and he will remain as a social studies at Mercer County High School.
"This has been difficult on my family," Finch said. "This has probably been the toughest decision in my life. This was a tough, tough decision. It's something I really went back and forth on. We felt we run our course here. It was a wonderful opportunity."
With the decision made, Finch said he moves forward with no hard feelings toward a program among the state's best in recent years.
"If there were bad feelings, that's water under the bridge," Finch said. "I wouldn't feel right talking about those things."
Zunkel said the resignation still needs board approval during its next scheduled meeting on April 17. Once that is finalized, he hopes to post the vacancy.
After that, he wants to fill the position within the next six weeks.
"The program has a lot of quality in it from top to bottom," Zunkel said. "Whomever takes over will be immediately successful."
Finch helped get the Golden Eagles to this level.
"I believe this program will continue to get better and better," Finch said. "It's not the end of the world."
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