Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wrestling: Flynn resigns as North Hunterdon coach

For 35 years, wrestling and Tim Flynn have gone hand-in-hand. But as the saying goes, all good things must end.

Flynn, 40, is stepping down following eight seasons in charge of the North Hunterdon program after being appointed as the school's vice principal during Tuesday night's board of education meeting. Flynn previously had been approved as the head wrestling coach for the 2017-18 season in a previous meeting.

Tim Flynn
"It's what I have wanted to do eventually, the last year or two for sure," Flynn said of taking an administration role. "Things seemed to work out at the [school] district level. I met with the team [on Wednesday] to let them know."

North Hunterdon is coming off a surprising 17-6 campaign after going a disappointing 9-10 in 2015-16, a rare losing season and the program's first since 2003-04. Under Flynn, the Lions went 118-48 overall, capturing the North 2, Group 5 title in 2015, their 14th sectional championship overall.

Before taking over in 2009-10, Flynn served as former head coach Jason Hawk's top assistant for four seasons. Under their guidance, along with several other highly regarded assistants, North Hunterdon earned statewide respect from opponents and coaches.

"I've been in wrestling forever, since age 5," said Flynn, a social studies teacher at North who was a former state placewinner for Phillipsburg High School and a four-year varsity letterwinner at James Madison. "I've been at North for 18 years, and a head coach for eight."

Flynn's departure is a bit surprising considering the talent level rising through a solid feeder system. He insists it was a career move that was too good to pass up.

"I've been very fortunate. I've had a lot of good kids and from parents [buying into the program]. I've been very spoiled," said Flynn, who praised Mike Cole for working at the youth level and during the busy offseason. "I never thought about walking away, even [during a frustrating 2015-16 season]. Last year, we overachieved, and it kind of got the juices flowing again. This was just the right time and place."

There have been many memorable moments during Flynn's time with North Hunterdon, including winning the Group 3 title in 2002, the school's fourth and last championship. Individually, Flynn points to coaching two-time state champion Ricky Frondorf and three-time placewinner Ryan Pomrinca, the Lions' all-time wins leader (155-13 from 2011-15) and current Lehigh University wrestler as career highlights.

"We had some stud teams my first couple of years as an assistant," Flynn said. "The 2003 team was probably better than '02, but we got beat in the [Group 3 final]. All four Hunterdon County schools winning [sectional titles] in 2015, that was fun."

The search for Flynn's successor is already underway. Current assistant coach Chris Hrunka, who has served on the staff for the last six years and is a Health and Physical Education teacher at North Hunterdon, is certainly a leading candidate.

"He'd be a good choice," Flynn said.

For now, Flynn will get to spend more time with his wife Brooke and their two children, Jack (7) and Lindsey (4). But he admits, things will be strange when practices start around Thanksgiving.

"It will definitely be weird. My wife will hate me being around," he joked. "But my son will be getting involved in wrestling. I will still be around."

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