Bob Huelsman
Bob Huelsman

Bob Huelsman is a former high school teacher, coach and administrator, serving for more than three decades at Covington High School, in Miami County. In his 13 years as head basketball coach at Covington, Huelsman won 228 games and five times guided the Buccaneers to the regional round of the state tournament. Currently, he serves as the associate athletic director at Newton High School, and treasurer for the Southwest District Athletic Board. A former member of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Control, Huelsman’s broad background in athletic administration has won the respect of his peers statewide.


If you liked my ideas about better competitive scheduling opportunities for small-school football, you’re going to love my thoughts about wrestling, I’m sure!

“To have one’s cake and eat it too” is a popular English idiomatic proverb or figure of speech.  This is most often used negatively, to connote the idea of consuming a thing whilst managing to preserve it.”

The proverb’s meaning is similar to phrases, “you can’t have it both ways” and “you can’t have the best of both worlds.”

Recently, the world of wrestling coaches in the Northwest and Southwest portions of Ohio has been turned upside down.  They have their underwear in a wad over the change that they themselves asked for…at least in my opinion.

Back some time ago, the wrestling coaches’ organization approached Henry Zaborniak, Assistant Commissioner with the OHSAA, about restructuring how the state organizes the sectional, district and state wrestling tournaments.  In a matter of fairness, the wrestling coaches felt equal number of wrestlers/schools should be in place at all sectionals, thus providing equal representation—making the tournaments more fair!

With this in mind, the Southwest District was instructed by the OHSAA that they had to send a Division II wrestling sectional to the Northwest District.  And, it was told to choose the sectional by geography.  Keep in mind that this was exactly what the wrestling coaches asked for, and that the Southwest District was following exactly what the OHSAA told them to do.

After this was finished, it dawned on the wrestling coaches that Graham High School, the winners of numerous state championships, was in this mix.  It was like an “Uh oh, now what are we going to do!?” moment.  The Northwest doesn’t want Graham in their sectional, and at the same time, the Southwest doesn’t want Graham either.

The solution was to ask the SWDAB for an “open draw” between the Eaton and Tipp City sectionals.  The SWDAB has had a policy in place for years on how to go about requesting an open draw between two districts.  This policy was not followed for one reason or another.

A huge part, that includes the signature of the high school principal, was excluded. Only the coach and athletic directors were asked their opinion on the survey.  Thus, the request was turned down.  It was late in the whole process, incorrect procedurally, and reeked of the “Big Bad Wolf” syndrome.

If approved, Graham could easily choose the Eaton sectional, thinking it easier to get all their wrestlers in the sectional and district out. The sectional, because once Graham goes to Eaton, the #2, #3, #4, etc. seeded teams choose Tipp City because of “the Big Bad Wolf syndrome”.  Consequently, the district then becomes easier.

The Northwest is relieved because now Graham is going somewhere other than the Northwest.  They are not afraid of the Southwest teams, other than Graham, who would dominate any tournament, with one arm tied behind their backs. By the way, why are the Northwest schools trying to tell the Southwest how to run their tournaments?

The Northwest is constantly sending down teams to the Southwest that are “their Grahams of the world”—Minster, Marion Local, St. Henry, etc. What makes them think the Southwest love having them?

The wrestling coaches are convinced this is the way to go (Open Draw).  Why wouldn’t they?  The athletic directors really don’t care.  They are supporting their coaches.

But…if you’re standing behind the fact that we have an open draw in place in other parts of the Southwest District, and the open draw is the way to go, then I suggest the SWDAB puts in place an open draw in all sports wherever feasible.

Let the athletic directors, principals and wrestling and basketball coaches sign the petition to have an open draw (school gets one vote).  Better yet, the SWDAB puts an open draw in place in both wrestling and basketball.  They have the right to do that!

Let’s have an open draw between Graham, Kenton Ridge, Tipp City, Shawnee, etc. with Chaminade, Dunbar, Thurgood Marshall, Alter etc.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!

You can’t have it both ways!

Have your cake and eat it too? Impossible!