Next season will be the first a West Forsyth wrestler will not have a coach named Stromie.
Steven Stromie has stepped down as the Wolverines’ head coach after six seasons in charge. Stromie took over for his dad, Dennis, who was West’s first wrestling coach when the school opened in 2007.
Stromie informed West’s administration in mid-February, soon after the GHSA Team State Duals, and broke the news to his team Thursday morning.
That, Stromie said, was the hardest part.
“It’s tough because I’ve had some great kids to work with,” Stromie said, “especially recently with guys like Jack Woodall and Denver Stonecheck.”
Stromie said he wants to spend more time with his young, growing family. He and his wife have one child, a 2-year-old daughter, and would like to have another, he said. But he’s had trouble spending time with them as both an assistant coach on the varsity football team in falls and head wrestling coach in winters.
“Sometimes I’ll kiss [my daughter] goodnight on Sunday and won’t see her again until Thursday,” Stromie said.
Perhaps oddly, Stromie chose to stick with football over wrestling. Wrestling has been the most consistent thing in his life. Stromie participated in both sports in high school, including wrestling for his dad, who built Parkview into a state powerhouse before opening West. Stromie and his dad will leave in mid-March for St. Louis to attend the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, a father-son tradition since 2000.
Stromie will stay on with the football team as offensive line coach.
“It’s definitely bittersweet for me,” Stromie said. “Thirty-one years of my life, all I’ve known is wrestling, and every year of my life has revolved around wrestling.”
Stromie admits he steps down without some of the statistical accomplishments he hoped for. The Wolverines never reach the state duals, never won an area championship. But Stromie hopes his wrestlers found more valuable things than statistical achievements in his program.
“Football’s the best team sport, but wrestling can teach you more about personal struggle and adversity and having to push yourself beyond the limits you think you can reach,” Stromie said. “If you can mentally grow and push yourself beyond what your limits are, you start to think you’re capable of great things.
“We didn’t qualify for state duals. We didn’t win a region title. I hope the kids understand that it’s about life. They were doing life on the wrestling mat.”