Chris Hardin is very familiar with the success of the Parkview wrestling program.
The former Effingham County coach inherited a program that has been one of Gwinnett County's and the state's most successful over the last 20 years.
Hardin intends to keep it that way.
"Our expectations are high, super high," Hardin said. "We expect to have several state placers, win another area championship. Obviously, Collins Hill 1 won't be at the county tournament, so we have every expectation to bring home the county championship again. To bring home a state trophy, that's the expectation in the duals and traditional."
It sounds like a lot to accomplish, but that's where the bar has been set with Parkview wrestling. Hardin is no stranger to success. He led Effingham County to the Class AAAA state championship last season.
Parkview is just one of seven Gwinnett County schools with a new head coach this season, which includes two first-year programs.
Tom Beuglas, Jim Gassman and Richard Schumacher left two of the county's most successful programs to start or revive new ones.
Beuglas left Parkview after 16 years to start the Archer wrestling program. While at Parkview he helped the Panthers win state titles in 2004 and 2006.
Gassman and Schumacher were assistants on Collins Hill's back-to-back state championship teams. Gassman is in his first stint as a head coach, starting the Mountain View program from scratch.
Schumacher will try to build a Meadowcreek program that has not had much success in recent seasons. The last time he was a head coach was in the 1970s at Bucknell University, but he has been involved with the sport as a referee and tournament director the last 25 years. The former college national champion has already seen a change at Meadowcreek, which didn't have a wrestler qualify for the state tournament last season.
"The word is spreading and our coaching staff has been tickled with the response we're getting. It's going to take some time to make an impact," Schumacher said. "You go from Collins Hill with all those well-skilled wrestlers to a bunch that didn't know anything three weeks ago. You have to start with the basics. This is not a sprint at Meadowcreek, it's going to be a long race. By the end of the year the other teams are not going to want to wrestle a Meadowcreek wrestler."
Tom Bartolotta is in his 10th year as a coach and first at Central Gwinnett. Bartolotta compiled a 114-26 record in eight years as the head coach at Glynn Academy. The Red Terrors won three area championships and qualified for the state duals five times.
Norcross' Jason Burton is back in coaching after spending the last six years traveling the world as a kayaker. Burton spent 2001-04 as an assistant at Pebblebrook, where he helped turn out state placers every season.
Ed Bobo takes over the Duluth program after spending the last two seasons as the Wildcats' assistant coach. One of the first things Bobo did over the summer was reinstate Duluth's youth program. This is not Bobo's first stint as a head coach. He started his career more than two years ago and led Briarcliff and Piper (Fla.) to consistent top-10 finishes from the late '70s to late '80s. After a 16-year career in the chiropractic field and as a high school and college referee, Bobo returned to coaching in 2003 as the head coach at Campbell (2003-04) and Woodstock (2005-06).
"I never realized how much I enjoy working with young people until I returned to coaching," Bobo said. "This is a special career, and we should cherish every moment."