Gonzales receives national award

Mason Alberto, Staff Writer

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Not only is Manhattan High’s wrestling coach, Robert Gonzales, returning back for another season, he can add 2017 National Coach of the Year to his accomplishments.

Gonzalez’s 14th year of being wrestling coach ended with him leading the team to the 6A State Championship and his third Kansas state championship.

Gonzales has been coaching wrestling since 2004 and enjoys the challenge of meeting new wrestlers to coach them to their best potential.

“Wrestling is my passion and I have enthusiasm for the sport daily,” Gonzales said. “[It] keeps me young.”

Gonzales was notified back in September that he was nominated by Dave Cherry of the Kansas State High School Activities Association in Topeka. He underwent a 10-page documentation in order to receive the award, which is based on school and community service.

“This is a great recognition for our high school, administration and wrestling community,” Gonzales said. “I’m blessed to be a small part.”

The Coach of the Year award by the National Federation of State High School Associations was granted to Gonzales and nine other coaches throughout the nation. Gonzales was the only recipient of the award to both be from Kansas as well as a wrestling coach.

Part of his coaching process is to be very interactive with his student athletes.

“He’s very supportive and makes sure you’re doing what’s right in and out of school,” Darius Island-Jones said. “And he truly cares about all of his wrestlers.”

Over the 14 years of coaching wrestling at Manhattan High, Gonzales has accumulated a record of 317 wins and 133 loses. At the end of the 2017 season, Gonzales had lead Mason Wallace and Jalin Harper the titles of state champion and runner-up.

“[I am] so happy for my family, my wife of 45 years and our three children and the sacrifices they made so I could teach and coach,” Gonzales said.

He not only coaches wrestling, but he also teaches the freshman Physical Education/Health class and Drivers Education.

“I had Gonzales last year over summer for Drivers Education and he helped me out throughout the course and made sure I passed all my tests,” Mitchell Titus said. “The stuff he taught me I won’t forget.”

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