Bob Hasseman is in his 29th season as head coach of the Franklin Community High School wrestling team.
One of the state’s most respected coaches, he has sent countless wrestlers to the state finals and in 2014 was selected Indiana High School State Wrestling Coaches Association Coach of the Year.
In total, he has coached four individual state champions. The first was his son, Bryce, in 2000. The most recent were D.J. Smith and Jake Stevenson last season.
Aaron Clark won under Hasseman in 2001.
A veteran of eight championship finals, including runner-up finishes for Luke Kriech (2012), Dusty Kief (2009), Jesse Hasseman (2004) and Sean Schmaltz (2003), Hasseman is expressly familiar with the pressures of sitting in the coach’s chair with a title at stake.
Here’s how he approaches a championship final:
“What you want to do at that point is try to just be calm. You’ve already done all the work you can do. A lot of what happens in the finals match is really on the kid. So what I always try to do is keep them loose. That’s not the time, I don’t think, for a big rah-rah speech. I think it’s, ‘OK, dog. You ready to go?’ — that type of thing.
“In the successes I’ve had, like Bryce, I said, ‘Are you ready to go?’ And he said, ‘I’m kicking that guy’s hind end. I’m ready.’ Now another guy will say, ‘I’m going to keep the guy from doing this.’ Well, that’s not what I want to hear at that time. You’ve got to go out there and do what you do. You’ve got to go out there and win.
“For me, you hope the kid is ready. You hope you’ve done everything possible to get this kid in the best position to be successful. Regardless of what happens, you’re so proud of the kid. I’ve been on both sides of the fence. You can be upset and all that (if you lose), but sometimes the guy’s better than you that day. Sometimes it’s a call here and a call there. Other times you didn’t finish a move or done something you shouldn’t have done.
“In the match itself, you’ve just got to stay on them, stay positive, make the kid think that he’s doing the right things. And a lot of times you can’t hear (anything) in there because it’s so loud, especially in that match.
“Sometimes it’s a blur, and sometimes it lasts forever. Sometimes it’s too fast. Your kid’s behind and he can’t catch up. Every one of them is kind of different. They’re all unique.”