Hyson returned, so did success Key coach points to N. Carroll duel

January 24, 1993|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

Bill Hyson is a humble man.

The successful Francis Scott Key wrestling coach talks at length about his four assistants, the "good kids" he has on the team, the family-type atmosphere of the small school in the country and the great support he gets from families, school staff and teachers.

The word "I" seems to be foreign to him except to explain his actions.

"I just don't feel comfortable talking about myself," said Hyson. "I'm just one of four or five people who is coaching this team. In title, I'm the head coach but my assistants work just as hard as I do."

But the bottom line is that Hyson has returned the Eagles to their wrestling glory of the mid-1970s, when Key was the county champion.

Key (8-0) is ranked sixth in the area and challenging third-ranked North Carroll for supremacy in Carroll County.

With all the attention that has surrounded North Carroll coach Dick Bauerlein and his bid to win a state title this season after three second-place finishes, it has been easy to overlook the job Hyson has done at Key.

Especially the way Hyson likes to keep a low profile.

"Billy's a terrific guy," said Bauerlein. "He's good for the kids, he has a great program, he's down to earth and you can trust him. We have a tremendous relationship. We tell each other exactly what we think and we often ride the same bus to state regional tournaments."

Hyson, 37, has only been able to notch one dual-match victory over Bauerlein and North Carroll in 12 years at Key. But he has slowly but surely brought his program up to the high standards set by the Panthers.

Hyson will find out just how close he is to North Carroll on Feb. 3 when the teams meet at North Carroll in one of the most anticipated dual matches in the history of the county.

In his usual candid manner, Hyson won't deny that his wrestlers are looking forward to the confrontation with the Panthers but he said a loss won't ruin the season.

"Regardless of the outcome, it's been a successful season," he said. "I don't want one match to be the whole season. We still have objectives for our league [Monocacy Valley] and the postseason tournaments."

Key and Smithsburg are unbeaten in the Monocacy Valley and battling for the championship.

Hyson said the biggest thrill he has experienced as a wrestling coach was watching two of his wrestlers, Tim Roop and Rick Ware, stand up in their school uniforms during the state 2A/1A championship awards program in 1986 and receive recognition for winning state titles.

He also gets a kick out of former wrestlers coming back to the school to coach or support the team.

"That says a lot about our program and the kind of kids we have," said Hyson. "My main hope is that the kids know I've given them a fair shake."

In a world where egos often interfere with getting the job done, Hyson refuses to play that game.

"The hard thing is not to let your ego in it," he said. "If I start to do that, then it's time to move on."

Hyson sees himself as a low-key coach who has taken some youngsters hungry for success in sports and given them an opportunity to excel even though they come from a small school.

"Our kids are proud that they can compete with the bigger schools in wrestling," said Hyson, who was an assistant wrestling coach for four years at Key before becoming head coach. "It's something they can do and do well. We've been very successful in wrestling with the same kids who are not successful in football. I guess the reason is you don't need the numbers in wrestling that are necessary in football."

Hyson gets well-schooled wrestlers from a strong recreation program that is coached by the state's first three-time high school champion, Steve Hoff, who wrestled for Westminster High.

The Key coach then prepares these youngsters for the mental and physical rigors of high school wrestling.

He knows firsthand what his wrestlers will be facing because he wrestled three years at Key and three years at Frostburg State.

But Hyson isn't so sure anymore how much it means to have done it yourself.

2l "I used to believe it was important for a coach to have wrestled," he said. "But these kids aren't really aware of what I did. And some of the things I teach best are the things I couldn't do well on the mat. Like in terms of technique. I didn't do as well as I could have in takedowns and good penetration for takedowns."

The road to Francis Scott Key began for Hyson when his father, Jim, who was a Baltimore County policeman, decided to move the family from the Parkville to Carroll County.

"I had just finished the seventh grade when Dad decided there were things going on [in Parkville] he wanted to take us away from," said Hyson, who also has been an assistant football coach for the Eagles since returning to his alma mater in 1977 to teach and coach.

"I've adopted Carroll County as my home now and it gives me the opportunity to do a lot of things I like, such as fishing, hunting and shooting. I arrived at Key at the right time athletically as far as playing football and wrestling."

Hyson said his father worked two jobs but spent a lot of quality time with his children.

"My dad instilled in us the philosophy that you should always do your best and always finish something you start," said the coach. "I try to pass that on to my wrestlers."

They apparently have gotten the message.

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