Meet a local man who helps make high school athletic run smoothly.
Marceline is the home of a man who plays a vital role in the athletic championship events for teams all over Missouri. Greg Stahl is in his seventh year as Assistant Executive Director of the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA). Stahl is a former Head Wrestling Coach at Marceline, and spent a total of 15 years as a teacher and coach.
“In the Spring of 2002, I had just completed my Masters in Educational Administration,” said Stahl. “At the same time, my wife [Nicole] and I, were preparing for the birth of our second child. At this point, I thought it would be best for my family and I if I were to reach out and see what opportunities there may be in administration.”
Stahl has had to wear many hats over his seven years at MSHSAA, With a background in sports such as baseball, football, and wrestling, Stahl was a natural fit with the state’s top athletic brass. Currently, Stahl oversees: football, wrestling, wrestling officials, golf and sports medicine.
Perhaps more than any other sports assignment, Stahl has been in charge of wrestling and wrestling officials since he joined MSHSAA. Every year, Stahl leads the charge to get the State Wrestling Championships off of the ground.
“You are in constant planning mode for any state championship event that you are responsible for overseeing,” said Stahl. “For all or our sports and activities, we have to continue to secure venues to hold our championships. The locations and venues we use for championships are secured through a [bidding] process that allows anyone who is interested to submit a bid or plan for hosting our championship events. So, we are constantly working on the [bidding] process to secure venues and sites for the future championships.”
Stahl noted that he has to begin the process of the State Wrestling Championships five months before the event begins. He has to get companies secured and in place to provide scales for weigh-ins, mats for the championships, score clocks for each mat, technology software to administer the championships, and many other supplies.
Three months out, Stahl begins securing the workers that make the event run smoothly. This includes mat workers, scorers, tunnel officials (who get the wrestlers in position), security, and many other positions.
“This year we had 244 schools with wrestling,” said Stahl. “Each year approximately 220 or more schools qualify at least one wrestler to the state championships. Each year I have to secure nine tournament/scoring/weigh-in coordinators, 32 mat officials, 16 weigh-in officials, four state official evaluators, 10 floor security, four announcers, three floor runners, four match assignors, 20 score table workers, five mat technicians, seven tunnel workers and 30-35 medical staff.”
Stahl couldn’t estimate a total amount of hours that worked to prepare for the event.
“Many hours are spent in preparation for the State Wrestling Championships with many overnight stays at my office,” said Stahl. “However, I love the time spent in preparing the State Wrestling Championships because it is such an honor and privilege to work at preparing the best experience possible for all the qualifying student athletes.”
Stahl is at the State Championship events he oversees for as many hours as needed to get the teams and fans in, out, and the facility prepared for the next people to come in.
“What drives me to be so committed to the State Wrestling Championships is the excitement and passion that I get to witness from student athletes, coaches and families over the course of three days,” said Stahl. “I have loved the sport of wrestling as a competitor in grade school, middle school, high school and college; but also as a coach, official and administrator. Because of that love for sport, I just want to help provide the most positive and electric experience as possible for the wrestling community and family.”
Stahl said that the hardest part of his job is the job is to let an athlete know that they won’t be able to compete at the sport that they love.
“It is heartbreaking to have to communicate with wrestlers, coaches and parents when a wrestler is not cleared by the on-site physician for a skin condition, which results in disqualification,” said Stahl. “Secondly, it’s very difficult to deal with situations in all sports and activities where adults in positions of responsibility have not taken the time to research, educate, and familiarize themselves on rules, regulations, requirements or policies prior to making decisions that could result in the penalizing of a student.”
But the pain is overwhelmed by the feeling of joy to see the raw emotions of the athletes who do get to compete at his events.
“The most rewarding part of my job is the opportunity to watch the pure emotions, excitement, appreciation, love and compassion displayed by students, coaches, parents, and fans when a student or team achieves a great accomplishment at a state championship,” said Stahl. “I wear my emotions on my sleeve - just ask my wife and two daughters - so I have often shed tears of my own when getting to witness student athletes embracing their coaches, parents or teammates...especially when there is a good story line behind the accomplishment.”