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Sep, 2018

New Head Coach Dee Evans Optimistic About Upcoming Season

As originally published Aug. 27, 2018, on Pennlive.com:

Dee Evans is ready to build something big, and he thinks he’s found the perfect chance at Hershey.

Evans has accepted the Trojans’ head coaching position and is already off and running. He said he is bringing a focus on culture-building, leadership development and community-building to Hershey, a program he believes has all the right pieces lined up.

Some of those ingredients had been missing, even as the Trojans made strides in the youth and junior high ranks. But the administration is on board and makes an experienced hire in Evans, who got his coaching start at Susquehanna Township and last season helped get Steel-High’s program off the ground after a 22-year hiatus.

Evans guided a Susquehanna Township program that in 2016-'17 advanced five wrestlers to the state tournament and crowned one champion in then-sophomore Edmond Ruth.

Evans said he was pleasantly surprised by the tone of Hershey’s offseason workouts and by the number of wrestlers who showed up. That made an early impression on him before even before he considered interviewing for the job.

“They invited me, and I randomly went down to see what they were doing,” Evans said. “One of the things I liked was they had a shared philosophy with youth wrestling, which I think is good. And they were deep in the offseason and still had a lot of guys coming in. The style of the room and the way it was run fit how I viewed things. We were all in tune. We were all on the same page.”

Evans knows a thing or two about program building, but he sees in Hershey a program that has put the right focus on its youth program and building for the long haul. Former coach Brad Bechtel was in charge of the Trojans’ junior high program prior to leading the varsity program for one year.

Hershey had a young team that went 1-9 record last season, but showed enough for Evans to believe it was positioned for success.

“When Brad initially came to Hershey, he started on the youth,” Evans said. “Now, a couple years later, those kids are starting to transition to later years in junior high. They’re freshmen and sophomores. Some are coming along, and now it’s just a matter of building on something that was already started.”

Evans said he first resisted the idea of moving on from Steel-High, where he went to school and was the school’s last District 3 champion in 1994 before it shut the program down in 1995.

Evans then went to Cumberland Valley and finished third in the state as a senior in 1995. In the opportunity at Hershey, Evans said he believes he can build something big and still impact kids from all over the region through Hershey’s new Capital City Wrestling Academy.

I wasn’t looking to leave,” Evans said. “I kind of resisted actually doing any interviewing just because we were building something at Steel-High. But when I look into my heart of hearts, I want to build something bigger than just a couple kinds here and there. I think I’ll be able to help kids from Steelton or Hershey or anywhere else by doing it with not just the high school program but an academy.”

Evans said he sees a Hershey program and a community that is eager to prove itself again.

“It’s a huge opportunity,” Evans said. “It seems like the kids down there are hungry. They’re tired of being thought of as not being able to wrestle. Things are really coming along. I’m excited for the opportunity.”

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