By Robert Stoneback
The Daily Item
DANVILLE -- Members of the Danville school board have approved high school English teacher Matt Bloom to be the new head high school wrestling coach.
Bloom will replace retiring coach Ron Kanaskie, who had accumulated 662 wins over the course of 42 years and is a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. The board also voted to retain Kanaskie as the district's athletic director for the next three years, at a rate of $20,000 per year. Both votes took place at the board's Nov. 12 meeting.
High school principal Lee Gump, a member of the wrestling coach search committee, told the board that Bloom was respected by students, had previous coaching experience and had submitted a 40-page document outlining his ideas for the future of the wrestling program at all grade levels.
"I was impressed with his kindergarten through 12th grade plan," said superintendent Cheryl Latorre, also a member of the search committee.
Kanaskie also served on the committee and was among the people who chose Bloom to replace him.
Other qualities of Bloom's that stood out to Gump were the ways he interacts with students, his loyalty to the district and his educational track record.
"One thing the board has emphasized over the years is that it's more than winning games, it's developing the student," said board president Allan Schappert in a conversation after the meeting.
Bloom shows these qualities, he said. Sports are about "learning how to work with others, dealing with failure..It's the development of the whole person, not winning at all costs," Schappert said.
The vote to confirm Bloom as high school coach was agreed upon by all present board members except Jamie Hosterman, who voted no. Hosterman declined to comment on his vote. Board member Chris Outt was absent from the meeting.
Bloom, who was a wrestler in college, will submit a list of coaching staff for board approval.
During the public comment section at the end of the meeting, Carol Burke requested that her husband, current assistant wrestling coach Joe Burke, be considered to retain a position with the coaching staff.
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