Hyson has F. Scott Key near the top

January 27, 1995|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun Staff Writer

He's big enough to be a mountain man, intense enough to make teen-agers sit up and listen, and talented enough to take a small group of wrestlers from 1A Francis Scott Key to the No. 2 ranking in the Baltimore metro area.

This man, all 6 feet, 250 pounds of him, is Bill Hyson, who is on the verge of realizing a dream that began 15 years ago when he was named head wrestling coach at Key.

Hyson could take the Eagles that final step to the top of the high school wrestling pack in Carroll County on Feb. 11, with the Carroll County tournament at North Carroll.To be No. 1 in wrestling in Carroll County, where they take the sport seriously, is something like being No. 1 in high school basketball in Baltimore City.

It is an honor that North Carroll has kept 11 of the past 12 years. Francis Scott Key has not won the county tournament under Hyson.

TTC Hyson and Key have flirted with that No. 1 position the last two years, but there have been roadblocks, setbacks, disappointments and a good bit of bad luck.

If Hyson, 39, does climb to the top, there will be a lot of celebrating among the coaching fraternity throughout the county and the state.

This man is genuinely loved by his fellow coaches in all sports.

Most coaches marvel at the patience and restraint Hyson has shown throughout his 15 years of rebuilding the Eagles.

They can't believe how the soft-spoken mentor has managed to set a shining example for his wrestlers no matter how bad a deal his team appears to be getting on a call during a match.

"I couldn't have blamed Bill if he had blown the roof off the North Carroll gym two years ago when that referee took two points away from a Key wrestler and gave the bout to North Carroll in the middle of a close match," said Westminster coach Henry Mohlhenrich. "When you give points to a wrestler and then take them away, that's pretty bad. I think Bill was wronged but he kept his cool. I would have gone bananas."

Hyson said it just would not be right for him to go out and heatedly challenge a referee.

"You have to temper things," he said. "I make my point and that's it. The kids know I'm intense when I need to be. If something needs addressing, I'll do it. They've seen me angry but it doesn't happen often. If I need to go nose-to-nose over something, I can do it."

Key's drive to the top in recent years has been blocked by North Carroll and academic and disciplinary problems last season that sent several key wrestlers to the sidelines for the big match against the Panthers.

Misfortune struck Key three nights ago in Uniontown when the Eagles (12-1) lost their first dual match of the season, 37-31, to ninth-ranked South Carroll.

Key had to forfeit the first bout and fell behind, 6-0, when 103-pounder Jason Fogus could not wrestle because his family home had burned down the day before.

The upset loss to South Carroll left many of his wrestlers down in the dumps, but Hyson barely showed signs of distress.

"The kids were distraught about it," said Hyson. "There were some things that happened to us that weren't good but it will help our guys to re-focus. I think we were a little out of focus."

Hyson said it was refreshing after the loss to South Carroll to see two-time Key state champion Randy Owings "talking to other kids on the team and trying to pick them up."

"It was one of the rewards in coaching to see a young man like Randy take on that kind of responsibility," said Hyson.

"Of course I didn't want to lose, but it just might have helped us. It was just one match on a long road. We still have the county, regional and state tournament championships to go as well as the state dual-meet championship."

That is vintage Bill Hyson stuff. Always calm, always cool and always reflective.

"Bill Hyson knows when to crank it up and when to hold back," said Francis Scott Key volleyball coach Leo Totten.

"He knows how to get the most out of his wrestlers. That is why our kids always do well in tournaments. They never get too keyed up or tense because Bill isn't that way. Our success in tournaments is a direct reflection on him."

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