March 7, 2014

Granger adds familiar sports to coaching duties at North Murray

By the time he is done with his teaching and coaching career, there is a good chance that North Murray High School’s Steve Granger will have worked with every sport Georgia high schools have to offer.

“It sure seems that way,” Granger said. “I haven’t coached golf or basketball, but it seems like I have coached a little bit of everything else.”

Next school year, Granger will take over the school’s wrestling program after serving as an assistant this past season. He’ll replace Steven Colley, who has coached the Mountaineers since 2010 — all but their first season of competition, when Larry Cornelius was in charge. Colley, who is also a member of an Air National Guard based in Montgomery, Ala., said his schedule was too busy outside of school to continue coaching.

At North Murray, Granger was the head baseball coach for the program’s first four seasons — one junior varsity and three varsity — before stepping down after last season. Last year, he took over as the softball head coach. He has experience with the wrestling program, having previously served as head coach at Southeast Whitfield and assistant coach at Murray County in addition to helping at North Murray.

“I am just excited to be back in wrestling,” Granger said. “I have coached wrestling probably longer than I have been coaching anything else. I started wrestling when I was in middle school, and I really enjoyed being part of the program this year and just fell back in love with it.”

Granger inherits a program that in 2013-14 had lower participation than in previous seasons. The Mountaineers didn’t field a team for area duals and filled just nine of the 14 weight classes at the area traditional tournament. Granger worked heavily with the program this past season, stepping in for Colley when his schedule became too hectic.

“Thank goodness we had coach Granger there to carry us through this past year,” Colley said. “It was a rough year for everyone involved. Coach Granger and I had talked about it last year, and I will be helping some when he needs me with (conditioning for) weight management.”

Granger knows what a struggle this past year was, and he said his top priority in the offseason is to get students excited about being part of the program again.

“I have already started talking it up to get some kids coming out next year and build our numbers up,” Granger said. “We honestly just have to work on our mental toughness. Emotionally, last year brought them down, but I thought we did a good job of focusing on the future. It was a tough battle. I thought they responded as well as they could have expected. I hope we do a better job of getting them out and keeping them out.”

Granger stepped down from the baseball program after the junior season for his son, Aaron Granger, who has signed a letter of intent to play at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tenn., next season. The elder Granger said taking over the wrestling program still enables him to follow his son’s collegiate career.

“It will still work out well,” he said. “ Now I have something to do during the winter, and it is something I really enjoy doing.”

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