AURORA | Greg Maestas, a prep wrestling fixture for decades in the city, has decided to retire after 41 seasons coaching the sport.
Maestas — who received a Lifetime Service to Wrestling award from the Colorado Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in May — opened Grandview High School as its first head coach and spent the past 16 seasons at the school after originally starting at Overland.
After retiring from teaching a year ago, Maestas decided that it was time to step down from the wrestling program. He is the second of Grandview’s original head coaches to retire in recent months, joining Gary Childress, who departed from the boys basketball position in March.
“It’s time; I enjoyed it, I had some great kids, great parents and good administrators,” Maestas said Thursday. “Coaching takes up a lot of time, so now it is just time to do something else and live the retirement life.”
Maestas said he’s looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Elsa, and may work as as admission councilor for his alma mater, Western State College, among other things to keep himself busy.
Grandview athletic director Jamee Ulitzky announced the retirement of Maestas, by far Aurora’s longest-tenured wrestling coach, in a statement.
“We appreciate Greg’s dedication and leadership as the head coach and the impact that he has had on many athletes and coaches,” Ulitzky said. “Words cannot express our appreciation for all of his work and commitment to the sport. We wish him nothing but the best in the future. ”
Maestas coached at Overland from 1988-1992 — where he coached wrestlers to a total of nine individual state championships — before moving over to Grandview when the school opened. His coaching resume includes 16 league or regional team championships, 10 top-five finishes at the state wrestling tournament and a total of 195 state qualifiers.
Additionally, Maestas coached nine high school All-Americans, 13 state champions, 84 state place winners and two national champions. He was Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1997 and coached the All-State Games in 1988 and 2005.
At Grandview, he had four wrestlers win Class 5A state championships: Jon Brascetta (145 pounds) and Curtis McNary (152 pounds) in the 2005-06 season and Eric Wilson (112 pounds) and Cody Gilmore (285 pounds) in 2007-08.
Maestas feels good about how he leaves the program. The school’s youth program is strong — Ben Menzor, a former Grandview wrestler himself, received the Youth Coach of the Year honor at the same ceremony in which Maestas got his Lifetime Service Award — and Maestas brought back some of his other former wrestlers, such as Ryan Budd, to keep continuity in the room.
“We have a great tradition and we’ve been very successful,” Maestas said. “We have a great youth program and great assistants who will be able to carry on if they get the job. We started this thing from nothing and won the league a few times. I feel like I’m leaving the cupboards full.”
Maestas graduated from Adams City High School in Commerce City and did his student teaching at the same school, then moved on to Western State. He also coached at Phoenix North High School before he started at Overland.
In addition to his work with his team, Maestas is active with the Colorado High School Coaches Association, the National Wrestling Coaches Association and USA Wrestling.
Maestas reveled in the lifetime honor he received from the Colorado chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, a great capper to a career that impacted a lot of young men in a positive way.
“To even be considered with some of those men that were my mentors and coaches I looked up to is a humble honor,” Maestas said. “(The Hall of Fame) is never where I through I’d be some day, but it makes me feel pretty good about the job I was doing.”
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel
GREG MAESTAS’ COACHING BY THE NUMBERS
195 — State qualifiers
84 — State wrestling place winners
16 — League or regional championships
13 — State champions (9 at Overland, 4 at Grandview)
10 — Top five team finishes in state wrestling tournament
2 — National champions