Another Shore Conference wrestling power had a change at the top this week, but this time the position has already been filled by one of the program's all-time greats.

Doug Withstandley was approved as Jackson Memorial's next head coach during Wednesday' night's board of education meeting and replaces Aaron Gottesman, who resigned after five seasons as the Jaguars head coach. Withstandley had been an assistant with Gottesman.

Withstandley's desire to return to the head-coaching ranks and Gottesman's growing family made it a good time to step down. Gottesman and his wife are expecting their second child in September.

"I always told Dewey (Withstandley) that if he got to the point where he ever wanted to be a head coach again to let me know," Gottesman said. "At the beginning of the season Dewey approached me and said he was starting to get the itch. We're expecting our second child, so the combination made it a good time. If we didn't have someone that strongly wanted to be head coach I would have stayed on."

Doug Withstandley (bottom right in red) is back as Jackson Memorial's head coach. (Photo by Scott Stump)

This will be Withstandley's second stint as Jaguars head coach. A star at Jackson from 1998-2001, Withstandley was a four-time NJSIAA District 21 champion, two-time Region VI champion and a four-time state medalist, which included capturing the 140-pound NJSIAA championship in 2001. He went on to wrestle in the Big Ten at Purdue University where he was a two-time NCAA qualifier. Withstandley then joined Jackson Memorial's coaching staff as an assistant under Scott Goodale, and after Goodale left to take the head coaching job at Rutgers, Withstandley was named the head coach.

Coaching from the 2007-2008 season through the 2010-2011 season, Withstandley's teams went 81-14 while winning two NJSIAA Group IV state championships, two NJSIAA District 21 team titles and four Shore Conference Class A South division titles. During Withstandley's tenure as head coach the Jaguars also had three individual state champions - Tyler Biscaha (103), Sean Byrnes (145) and Scott Winston (160) during the 2008 season - and five other state medalists.

When Withstandley stepped down following the 2011 season, Gottesman, who was an assistant under Withstandley, was named the head coach. In his five seasons the Jaguars went 87-23, captured two NJSIAA state sectional titles, one District 21 team championship and one Class A South division title. Gottesman also coached five NJSIAA state medalists, including Dallas Winston when he won the 182-pound state title in 2012.

"When I took over five years ago I originally didn't put in for the job and didn't want to be a head coach," Gottesman said. "We had all these coaches that put in for the job that were from outside Jackson, and I was a little worried. There hasn't been a lot of coaches of this program, and it has been passed down from guys who have been in the program. It went from Bernie Ryder to Ai Aires. Al coached Goodale and Goodale coached Dewey. When Dewey stepped down I didn't want to be a head coach at first, but there were all these people that applied that didn't know how things work at Jackson, so I put in for it."

Gottesman said he plays to remain on staff as an assistant. The entire coaching staff is expected to return so the only change is essentially Withstandley and Gottesman switching positions.

"I always told myself my job was to keep the ship from sinking," Gottesman said. "I always believed it should be his program. For me there's no difference if I'm the head coach or an assistant. We've always bounced ideas off each other and have always had a relationship where we work extremely well together. He's at the point in his life where he has that fire and wants to take it over. When you start having kids priorities change."

Jackson Memorial went 15-6 this past season and while capturing the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group VI sectional title. Their top returner for next season will be Matt McGowan, who won the Region VI 126-pound title as a junior and finished the season with a 29-5 record.


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