Staff Photo: Brandon Brigman Parkview wrestling coach Josh Porter.
Josh Porter, 33, is in his second season as the head wrestling coach at Parkview. Porter is a 1998 Milton grad and teaches political systems and economics through special education.
Porter wrestled at The Citadel where he earned his bachelor's degree in health and physical education in 2002.
In this latest installment of "Getting To Know ... ," Porter talks to staff writer Brandon Brigman about his use of Twitter to promote the program, his fondest wrestling moment and playing rugby overseas.
BB: So what's your New Year's resolution?
JP: Just to be an overall better person. I really didn't have a specific one. Just be an overall better person and help my kids win state championships.
BB: You took your team to a tournament in California over Christmas break. Was it all wrestling or did you get to do any sightseeing?
JP: Actually, we did. We got to sightsee in San Francisco, go see the wharf with the sea lions and got to see Alcatraz from a distance and the redwood forest, so it was a really neat trip. I had a good time out there.
BB: Was that your first time out there?
JP: Actually, it was the first time I've been to San Francisco. We competed about three hours away in Lemoore, Calif. The big thing, though, was going into Chinatown and buying a whole bunch of different stuff.
BB: Like what?
JP: Oh, T-shirts, hats and all sorts of stuff. You can get pretty much anything you want in Chinatown.BB: Parkview athletic director Mark Whitley's son, Micah, is on the team. Does that create more pressure knowing he's always around?
JP: No, I actually love having Coach Whitley around. He was a state runner-up when he was in high school. He's actually on my coaching staff, one of my assistants, so its actually kind of a blessing to have your athletic director involved in your program as much as he is.
BB: Have you ever wrestled him?
JP: No, I haven't ever wrestled him. He wrestles with the kids every now and then. He wants to lose a little weight. I think that's his New Year's resolution.
BB: How does he hold up against the kids? He's pretty strong.
JP: He's very strong. Coach Whitley is big and strong. He does pretty well against the kids.
BB: You use Twitter a lot to keep people updated about the program. Is it also a good way to stay in touch with your wrestlers?
JP: Oh yeah, I love Twitter. I think it's a great tool to help promote the wrestling program. I've actually got a couple of colleges interested in a couple of kids through there. Just to see what the kids are doing day in and day out, just to make sure they mind their language on Twitter and not Tweeting out some bad stuff. But yeah, as far as promoting the program, it's awesome. It's a great tool.
BB: You like to use the hashtag 'expand the wall.' What do you mean by that?
JP: Expand the wall. In our wrestling room, in 1977 we had our first state placer and that's our Wall of Fame. Last year Kamaal (Shakur) used up the last spot on the wall, so we're going to have to expand our wall. That's our theme this year, 'expand the wall.' The kids that place at state this year or are state champs are going to be on the new section of our Wall of Fame in the room.
BB: You've done a lot of different things to draw up interest for dual meets. Like Cowboy Night last year. You had Whitley and head football coach Cecil Flowe do commentary for a match last week. Where do you get these ideas?
JP: We did a dinner and dual earlier in the year when we wrestled in the cafeteria and served spaghetti dinner. I just try to come up with different ways. I won't take credit for everything. If I see someone is doing something cool, we try to do it, too. We just try to come up with different ideas to promote the program to get other kids and adults involved and invested in different ways.BB: Tell me about the reading program you guys have on dual days.
JP: I started that because I came from being an elementary school teacher and I know how hard that is to get some of those kids to read. Plus it helps my kids get involved in the community and be positive role models for kids in our community and hopefully they'll get involved in our program, too.
BB: What was your fondest wrestling moment in high school?
JP: It would be beating my big rival from Chattahoochee to win a region title.
BB: How did you beat him?
JP: Beat him on points. It was a decision, but I kind of wore him out and he broke. It was an exciting match for me.
BB: Grayson's Mike Stephen and Collins Hill's Josh Stephen coached you for Team Georgia in high school. What's it like seeing them at tournaments now?
JP: It's a lot of fun as far as knowing them. We've beaten Grayson twice at the region duals now for third place, so kind of getting up on one of your mentors is kind of cool. But the same time Josh and Mike are great coaches. I learned a lot from them when I was in high school and even now when I'm around them. They are still around with Team Georgia and I pick their brains on things. I enjoy being around them.
BB: You went to The Citadel and wrestled. Was it tough managing academics, military responsibilities and wrestling?
JP: Absolutely. One of the things I learned there was time management. Making sure your grades are up, making sure your shoes are shined, making sure you're ready for practice is definitely one of the things you have to balance when you are there.
BB: Do you still keep that military mentality?
JP: Uh, a little bit. I'm kind of a laid-back kind of person. When I went to The Citadel, I realized the military wasn't for me. But I made some good friends there and I wanted to stick it out. I do like to shine my shoes, though.
BB: What kind of wrestler were you there?
JP: I lettered my freshman year, but I was just average at best. I just liked the sport.
BB: You used to play rugby. How did you get into that sport?
JP: After I finished wrestling, a couple of buddies that wrestled played rugby and they asked me to come over. I did and loved it. Traveled overseas, played in New Zealand and Australia.
BB: What was it like visiting those countries?
JP: Ah, they are beautiful countries. Great people and Australia had some cool animals and beautiful scenery and just lots of things to do.
BB: How many times did you break your nose playing rugby?
JP: Actually, I've never broken my nose. The weird thing is rugby and wrestling are the two sports you get cauliflower ear the most and it just never bothered me. You see rugby players and wrestlers walking around with cauliflower ear and I feel like I need to go bang on my ears to get cauliflower ear.
BB: Do you have be tougher to wrestle or play rugby?
JP: Oh, by far wrestling. Rugby players are tough, but wrestlers are the toughest athletes in the world, I believe.
BB: It's your second year at Parkview, but how long do you see yourself here?
JP: I see myself being here for a very long time. I want to be here for a very long time. I want to establish a program and we get back to what we were in the mid-2000s winning state titles. I want to establish a program from kindergarten all the way up to high school where we are doing the right things as far as building good quality young men and women. I have a saying, it's called 'Parkview tough.' What's behind it is tough mentally, tough physically, tough character. That tough character part is doing the right thing even when no one is looking. That's what I want to build here.