Doug Black is back. The former Hickman wrestling coach will coach again in Columbia when the state tournament starts today.
This is his 10th consecutive year coaching wrestlers at the state tournament. He became coach at Blue Springs South two years ago after living and coaching in Columbia for seven years.
Two seasons ago, as Hickman’s coach, he took the Kewpies’ Tony Pescaglia to his second appearance at the tournament. Pescaglia is a senior defending his 125-pound state title.
Last weekend at the Class 4, District 3 tournament in Jefferson City, one of Black’s Blue Springs South wrestlers beat Pescaglia’s younger brother, freshman Vince Pescaglia, knocking him out of the state tournament at 103 pounds.
“It was probably the hardest match I’ve ever coached. I didn’t want to see any kid lose,” Black said. “You hate to see someone you worked with get knocked out by your own kid. It could have gone either way, but it wasn’t very fun.”
Vince Pescaglia lost 5-2 to Jaguars sophomore Carey Jones, who went on to take fourth place after losing to Rock Bridge’s Justin Davis.
Only weeks before, Pescaglia beat Jones in Columbia at the 16th Annual Hickman Invitational Wrestling Tournament. Black found Pescaglia and congratulated him after the tournament.
Then last weekend, when the tables were turned, he sat down with Pescaglia to explain his feelings about the match.
“He said he didn’t want to be in that position. It was hard for him to coach against me,” said Pescaglia, who spent many a practice hanging around the gym, watching his older brothers Tony and K.C. Pescaglia train with Black.
Needless to say, Black is still happy that Jones advanced to the state tournament with fellow Jaguar Matt Allen (112). They left Kansas City on Wednesday evening to check into a Columbia hotel and get settled. They hope to get comfortable, stay for the whole weekend, and take home their first state title since 2002. Whether that happens could hinge on a rematch between Jones and Davis at 103 pounds.
Besides Davis and Tony Pescaglia, other Columbia wrestlers competing include Hickman’s K.C. Pescaglia (125) and Alex Wegener (171) and Rock Bridge’s Kyle Lewis (130) and Taylor Crane (135).
Hickman wrestling coach J.D. Coffman said he and Black have known each other for a long time. Before taking charge at Hickman, Coffman was Black’s assistant coach for three years. Before that, they were both assistant coaches at Rock Bridge for one season.
Black said Coffman helped him become comfortable in Columbia after moving from Oklahoma where he received his athletic certification at Lawton High School. Likewise, Coffman said he learned a lot about coaching while working alongside the former Kewpies coach.
“We visit often. We talk back and forth quite often because we’ve become good friends,” Coffman said. “I’ll call him to talk about wrestling. It’s networking, to find out if there’s anything else we have to do to keep up with the rest of the state.”
The past aside, both coaches will have new experiences coaching at Mizzou Arena today. This is the first year that the arena will host the state tournament.
“It’ll be interesting to see because I’ve never been there before,” Black said. “A little change. Change is always good.”