The Emerald Ridge High School wrestling program made a coaching change Monday after Cody Meek took over the reigns after coach Tom Johnston stepped down due to health concerns.
In one of the toughest decisions Johnston has made in recent years, the now former Emerald Ridge and Steilacoom wrestling coach walked away from a sport he has held a fire for his entire life.
“It was tough going through my final practice today, but with the way my health has been, it is necessary for me to step down,” Johnston said in a phone call after his final practice Monday with Emerald Ridge. “I might come back in some capacity, like volunteering, but I have to take step away and get my health in order.”
Meek will take over full coaching duties that started Monday after Emerald Ridge’s practice.
Even though he’s walking away, Johnston’s passion for wrestling could leave an opening for a return to coaching in some capacity or as an official, where he spent years refereeing wrestling before becoming a coach.
“I don’t like to quit anything I start, and it makes this decision even tougher to make,” Johnston said. “I’ll still try to find a way to be around to help out where I can.”