Former Ohio State wrestler Alex Gordon will coach at Westerville North

With the support of recently retired coach David Grant, former Ohio State University wrestler Alex Gordon will replace Grant as head of the Westerville North boys program, pending school board approval.

“Alex has the right personality and temperament and he loves the kids,” said Grant, who stepped down after 21 seasons. “He can continue to support this program.”

Gordon, 32, served twice as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Dublin Scioto. After serving four and a half years in the Navy, he served as an assistant for the past three seasons and was a volunteer assistant for two seasons after graduating from Ohio State in 2014.

“I always imagined myself at Scioto,” Gordon said Wednesday. “Coach Grant tipped me off to let me know he was planning on retiring. I knew I wanted to be a head coach and didn't want to wait. That got me thinking about Westerville North and it is such a great community. They have so much support there. My wife and I are buying a house there. It just feels like home.”

Gordon and his wife Rebecca married in September. Gordon received his master's degree in teaching from Otterbein on Sunday and will join the Walnut Springs Middle School staff in the fall as an intervention specialist.

Under Grant, North won seven OCC championships and two top-10 finishes in the OHSAA Division I state tournament, and four wrestlers combined to win six individual state titles.

“We had some very good candidates, but it was very obvious to us that Alex was ready for his first opportunity as a head coach,” North athletic director Wes Elifritz said. “He will also serve as a teacher in the district, so we are extremely confident that he can replace Coach Grant and continue the legacy that David has already left behind.”

Gordon accepts the challenge.

“It’s a great situation,” he said. “I know Grant believes in me, which gives me an incredible amount of confidence, but also what he has done for the community in wrestling at Westerville North gives you a sense of purpose. You feel like it is your duty to do your best for these children. It makes your job easier to follow in his footsteps.”

Gordon was a two-time state qualifier at Dublin Scioto

A 2010 graduate of Scioto, Gordon competed in football and wrestling for the Irish, qualifying for the Division I state tournament as a sophomore (145 pounds) and senior (152).

“I will always root for my boys at Scioto,” he said. “These will forever be my boys. These relationships had a huge impact on me. I trained Scioto before I was in the Navy, and I remember sitting in my bunk and getting letters from people telling me about their lives and telling me what they did.

“I knew right away in boot camp that I had to go back and become a teacher. My calling was working with these kids and that mentoring part. The hardest thing about leaving (Scioto) is the kids because you love the kids so much, but you have to start something new at Westerville North.”

Gordon also praises the mentorship of Scioto coach Adam Huddle.

“He congratulated me and was really happy for me,” Gordon said. “Adam has been a mentor throughout. He showed me how to run a practice. He taught me a lot. He is a very important person for me.”

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Anna Harden

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