Apr. 9—Shawn Bammes will be the next head wrestling coach at Manhattan High School, athletics director Mike Marsh told The Mercury on Friday.
Marsh said Bammes, a Manhattan alum who has worked on the Indians' wrestling staff since 2010, is a natural fit for the position.
"I think it's an easy transition for him, for the most part," Marsh said. "He's a local guy, been around Manhattan for years. He's very familiar with the kids program in town. Everyone knows and respects him in the community."
In addition to Bammes's institutional knowledge, Marsh said he likes the way Bammes interacts with athletes. Marsh called Bammes a "player's coach" and said that students gravitate toward him.
Bammes replaces his mentor, Robert Gonzales. Gonzales led the Indians to three state championships from 2005 to 2021. He announced his retirement after the Class 6A state tournament in February. Bammes served as an assistant for two of those titles, and was the team's interim coach for a month after Gonzales underwent surgery last spring.
Gonzales was sitting in a McDonald's drive-thru when he heard Bammes was taking his old gig.
"I'm just tickled to death," Gonzales said. "I'm happy for Shawn and his family, and I'm happy that the program will continue at a good pace."
Bammes's fist order of business will be to hire two new assistants. Marsh expects Bammes to retain current assistants Dayton Crist and Danny Grater, but Bammes' hiring created an opening, and the Indians will add another assistant to help with the girls' wrestling program.