When faced with the unexpected vacancy he had plugged only five months earlier, Muskogee athletic director Jason Parker mentioned a need in building connections with some of the accomplished alumni of Muskogee’s wrestling program.
The move he announced Monday, elevating assistant coach Chetan Munsell to interim head coach, is a move in that direction.
“It’s an interim but we feel strongly about coach Munsell,” Parker said. “It just gives us some time to go through the proper procedures and dot our Is and cross our Ts. We’ll look at other candidates as well in the spring and summer but we do feel really strongly about coach Munsell.”
Parker said Munsell was a “runner-up” in the decision that led to the hiring of Michael Harris, who resigned by mutual agreement last month. Harris had had a stint as head coach at The Woodlands, Texas, and was known here by his team’s competing in open tournaments when Bobby Jefferson was in charge of the wrestling program.
His previous head coaching background was a deciding factor in June, Parker said.
Munsell began coaching as an assistant last year. He wrestled under Jefferson, finishing third at Class 6A state at 152 pounds in 2012. He reached the consolation finals in 2011 at the same weight.
“It helps he’s in the school, he knows the tradition, his name is on the wall and he bleeds green,” said Parker.
The team begins the year this weekend in the Broken Arrow Open tourney.
Munsell was not immediately available for comment. He is the sixth wrestling coach since Jefferson's 34-year tenure ended in 2013.
In announcing Harris' departure in October, Parker said it was "mostly him feeling overwhelmed and through the evaluation process and us seeing things that were not up to par. He just kind of told us he was overwhelmed being away from his family.”