Jason Klink — Wrestling Coach
Skippers' head wrestling coach Jason Klink had a hard decision to make before joining SC4 in 2018. He had been the head wrestling coach at Capac High School where he built a very successful program during his 20-year career, which included more than 500 dual meet wins, nine district titles, and 20 individual All-State wrestlers.
"It was a very tough decision leaving a program that I built. When it came down to it, I was worried if I didn't take [the SC4 coaching position] they wouldn't have a program," Klink said. "I thought it was a huge deal to have a junior college program in the area which filled a huge void for kids in the area looking to continue on in wrestling."
And so he's embracing his next challenge to build up another new program, which has already seen great success in his first two seasons. With eight national qualifiers, Klink said he's looking forward to achieving even more in the upcoming season.
"We were able to recruit some real competitive kids and had some success, we just need some more numbers," he said. "Seven kids qualified for Nationals [in 2019-20] and three guys were really close to placing, like only a match or two away. Five of those guys all plan on returning, so that's a real good solid foundation."
Thomas Tyson has worked with Klink for many years, as he wrestled for Klink all through high school and for two years as a Skipper.
"He's a very determined person," Tyson said of Klink. "He doesn't let you do anything less than what he knows you can do, and he pushes you to do it."
Klink graduated from Port Huron Northern High School in 1988 where he was a three-sport athlete. He competed in football, wrestling, and baseball, and he said he was equally passionate about them all. His football experience, however, provided him with a full-ride scholarship to Central Michigan University.
After what he called a great experience of playing college football, he got a teaching job back in the Blue Water Area at Northern. But for Klink, it was more than just a teaching job, it was also an opportunity to coach and give back to the community that had helped him.
"I was able to get on staff at Northern as an assistant in all three sports [football, wrestling, and baseball]. How fortunate are you to come back and teach and coach with the guys that coached you?" he said. "They're all super guys and Hall of Fame coaches now, so it was an awesome experience."
From there he went on to teach and coach at Vassar High School, where he earned his first head coaching position with the wrestling team. But when an opportunity to work in the Capac School District arose, he pursued that instead, as it was a better location for his family.
Twenty-seven years later Klink is still doing what he loves. Perhaps one of the most special parts of his coaching job is the chance to share the experience with his 10-year old son.
"He's involved in everything too. He started going to almost every meet when he was four. He'd ride the bus and spend all day long with the team," Klink said. "He loves being around it. Even now he still craves with us, and on days he can't go, it's devastating for him. He loves being there and being a part of it."
Klink said he hopes to be able to coach his son when he gets to high school, but for now he's just grateful to coach him in his youth leagues during the evenings.
Whether he's coaching athletes at the high school or college level, or even his son's youth leagues, Klink is leaving a legacy of strong athletes and future coaches, just as his high school coaches did for him. He said the most helpful thing in making his decision to transition to SC4 was knowing the Capac wrestling program would carry on under a few of his former athletes.
"I was very fortunate to have some guys at Capac that I had coached over the years decide to step up and take over the position and keep the program going," Klink said. "They were awesome kids to coach and I'm super proud of them."