An Ice Fighter has made his way back home for good.
On Tuesday night the Muskogee School Board removed the interim tag in front of Chetan Munsell’s title, naming him the new head wrestling coach at Muskogee High School.
An MHS alum, Munsell wrestled for long-time Roughers’ coach Bobby Jefferson, who ironically sits on the school board that approved him, where he finished third at state in Class 6A in 2012. It was during the Jefferson era that the wrestlers at MHS gained the nickname Ice Fighters due to their fierce competitive nature. Munsell served as an assistant coach in 2018 and was named interim head coach late last fall after the sudden departure of Michael Harris.
Since Jefferson’s departure in 2013, the wrestling program has gone through five head coaches in seven years but athletic director Jason Parker feels strongly that Munsell will return stability to the program.
“We think the world of coach Munsell first and foremost because he is a Muskogee alum and former Ice Fighter so you have someone leading the program that has seen it be successful and knows what it will take to bring the program back.” said Parker. “Having someone who is concerned about the program’s growth is huge for us.”
Munsell knows that there’s a lot to be done to bring back those glory days but he’s ready for the challenge.
“I’m very excited to take over the program. I’ve got some ideas that I picked up in high school that I would like to make part of the program. I think a big part will be bringing back the mental toughness that wrestling used to have and that’s been missing the past few years,” said Munsell. “People say that kids are different today than when I was in school but I think you can still develop that Ice Fighter mentality through our practices, daily routines, talking about it every day and getting the kids to buy in to what I’m teaching them.”
A big key to developing that program is creating a support staff for Munsell. And the school board helped in that regard Tuesday with the official hiring of Steve Adair to become Munsell’s assistant. Adair served as an assistant coach at Muskogee before moving on to develop a successful wrestling program at Wagoner over the past three years.
“I’m really excited to get Steve on board,” said Munsell. “We got to know each other when he was at MHS and I was a teacher and volunteer coach. We maintained that relationship when he went to Wagoner and we practiced with them on a few occasions. He brings a lot of knowledge and success with him and he knows what it takes to build a winning program.”
A few years ago Munsell helped start a youth wrestling program in Muskogee and now many of those kids are reaching junior high age. So the next key hire for the former Ice Fighter will be finding someone to coach that group which has a lot experience and already some national honors under their belts.
“We’ve got a lot of talent at the junior high level and getting them groomed for high school will be a key to our future success,” said Munsell. “So far it’s been a little tough finding someone with the right wrestling background plus the needed teaching credentials to fill that spot. We need to find just the right guy with just the right fit for Muskogee and I’m confident we will.”