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Monday November 30th, 2020 5:33AM
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Wrestling: Former Chestatee grad tapped to lead program

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

GAINESVILLE — Scott DeGraff is coming home.

The former Chestatee standout wrestler was named the new wrestling coach of the War Eagles on Thursday, replacing Kyle Barr, who stepped down after six seasons.

Chestatee High School Athletic Director Matt Stowers made the announcement Thursday, pending board approval.

“Chestatee is excited to welcome Scott DeGraff back home,” said Chestatee principal Suzanne Jarrard. “Scott is well respected in both the wrestling and Chestatee communities."

DeGraff, who spent the past season as an assistant at Gilmer, is no stranger to the War Eagle program. DeGraff served as an assistant at Chestatee from 2011 to 2019. He also is a 2008 Chestatee graduate and helped run the school's youth program during his stint off Sardis Road.

"I didn't know this was coming at all," DeGraff said during a phone interview Thursday. "I was very happy at Gilmer but I got a call a couple of weeks ago from the (Chestatee) administration asking me if I was interested. I initially turned it down.

"But after some discussion with my family, I decided this was a great opportunity for us to get back into a great community like Chestatee. I'm super excited but I'd also be lying if I didn't say I'm also a little nervous, it being my first time to run an entire program."

“We have found the right man for the job,” said Stowers. “I have had the good fortune to coach him, coach with him, and now hire him to lead the program in which he has so heavily invested over the years. There is no doubt he knows wrestling, but the greatest asset he will bring to the program is his unique ability to build positive relationships."

Relationships, DeGraff said, will be the key to getting the War Eagles back in the state conversation on the mat.

"I had some relationships with kids in the community when I was there and reestablishing some of those and building new ones will be the key to getting this thing going," he said. "Coach Barr did a great job while he was here. There is enough talent here to make some noise next year hopefully. We'll probably have about 40 kids in the program but I really want to see that number get to at least 65. That will be the focus early on. It may take a couple of years to get to that level.

"There are always things you can improve on no matter how good you are. The middle school program is in great shape and we'll have to get the youth program going again. Once we do that, I think we'll be a program that can make that jump to the next level."

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