Reggie Burress takes over Platte County wrestling program; while Jeff Davis does same at Park Hill
Between them, former Platte County High School wrestling coach Phil Dorman and former Park Hill High School wrestling coach Bill Erneste won a combined 13 team state championships and more than 350 dual matches. Both coaches stepped down from the programs they built into state powerhouses at the conclusion of last year — Dorman after 19 seasons and Erneste after 15. Dorman remains at PCHS as the athletic director, a post he has held for several years, while Erneste took over the Park Hill AD job from the retiring Bill Sobbe. In the wake of all that success, the two programs welcomed new coaches this season. At Platte County, that new coach is Reggie Burress, who is actually not a newcomer at all to the program. Burress was an assistant to Dorman for 17 seasons prior to taking over this season and has been an integral factor in the team’s success the past two decades. Meanwhile, Park Hill went outside the district –—and the KC metro area — when it hired Jeff Davis to take the reins of the Trojans wrestling program. Davis spent the last 15 years coaching at Waynesville, Mo. where he led Waynesville High School to top-12 finishes the last six years at the state tournament, including sixth place in Class 4 last year. Burress said his transition has been a smooth one, as he has been a teacher/coach in the R-3 District for so long. “We have had a great start to the season with getting two dual wins and performing well in the tournament,” Burress said. “We will work to get better each and every day.. “On being head coach the biggest difference is more paper work. Really, everything has been going great Davis said the biggest adjustment for him so far has been learning how the administration works at Park Hill. “I would think that with any new job there are differences and the job here at Park Hill is no different,” he said. “I would say that the most difficult thing to get used to is the way things are done administratively for me as the head coach — primarily learn the school district procedures and the way that they want things done.” Davis said he has been impressed with the students and the Trojans wrestling fans. “As far as the kids and parents go I couldn’t be more pleased with the support of the people here,” he said. “Fans at Park Hill know wrestling and truly understand the sport of wrestling. At the Lee’s Summit dual our 220-pounder, who was a first-year wrestler, fought off of his back late in the third period and the crowd went crazy. They knew and appreciated how hard that young man fought to get out of that situation; in Waynesville I’m not sure we would have gotten that sort of reaction.” Both coaches have got off to a good start this season. Burress’s Pirates defeated Liberty 58-18 and Oak Park 53-18 in a season-opening double dual at Platte County High School last week. Platte County then took fifth place at the always-tough 15-team Gardner-Edgerton (Kan.) Invitational last weekend. Platte County was led at Gardner-Edgerton by sophomore Matthew Schmitt, who took first place at 106 pounds; senior Matthew Barmann, first at 113; junior Caleb Crabtree second at 145; sophomore Johnny Blankenship, second at 152; and Jake Marquardt, fifth at 120.