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Greenfield Wrestling Coach Hanging it Up After 38 Years Coaching

State tournament is final chapter in Keith Morin's storied coaching career.

Even though he’s been at it for 46 years, Keith Morin still has a passion for wrestling.

You can hear it in his voice, and you can see it in his eyes when he’s giving one of his pupils instruction, tips of knowledge he’s stockpiled from nearly five decades in the sport.

But this weekend’s WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament, which begins Thursday and runs through Saturday at the Kohl Center in Madison, marks the end of Morin’s storied career.

After 38 years of coaching, the last nine of which were spent as head of the Greenfield High School varsity program, Morin is retiring.

“I’m 60 years old now,” Morin said. “This job, people don’t realize how demanding coaching is. Not only physically, but there’s a lot of mental too it. You could sit back and collect the paycheck like any other job, but (to be good), it takes a lot of time.”

No one could ever accuse of Morin of resting on his laurels. After wrestling for Greenfield from 1964-68, he did the same at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse for four years.

He immediately got into coaching, and eventually ended up home in Greenfield. He spent 23 years as an assistant in Greenfield before taking over as head coach in 2002.

Of the high school’s 81 state qualifiers, Morin coached 67 of them at some level, including current Whitnall co-head coach Craig Austin. Morin was an assistant to Bob Austin, Craig’s father, from 1978-90 when Bob Austin was Greenfield’s head coach.

“He is a first-class individual, nothing but top-notch person, coach,” said Craig Austin, whose speech about Morin solicited a standing ovation at the Woodland Conference Tournament earlier this month. “I couldn’t have wrestled for two better coaches, one being him and one being my dad.

“He not only cares about the wrestler, he cares about the individual too. He was always someone I looked to, and other coaches and his wrestlers look to. … It’s sad to see him go.”

Morin, who coached boys volleyball at Greenfield for 11 years and won the state championship in 1983, when seniors Andrew Krueger and Taylor Wirtz compete in the state tournament.

Krueger (35-5) was dominant during his sectional run, allowing just one point while earning his 100th and 101st career victories. This marks his first state appearance.

“He’s just peaking at the right time,” Morin said. “He’s got a pretty tough (state) draw, but you’ve got to get there. That’s the first thing, to give yourself a chance.”

Wirtz (32-8) qualified in . Needing a win in a second-place wrestleback against Racine Case’s Tyler Hunter, Wirtz registered a reversal in double overtime to secure his second trip to state. It was his 100th career victory.

Both wrestlers were grateful for Morin.

“He gave me the best four years of my life,” Wirtz said. “It was the greatest sport ever thanks to him.”

Added Krueger, “Coach Morin is 100 percent a wrestling coach. He puts so much time into it. He puts his life into it.”

And as for Morin’s last hurrah, the coach said he couldn’t have written a better script.

“It’s just really neat to be going to state with these two kids,” Morin said. “What a way to finish. I was going to finish last year with my nephew (Steve Fischer) but decided to stick with my seniors and it would have been heartbreaking had they not made it to state.

“It’s a pretty cool way to finish.”

Shelly February 24, 2011 at 01:54 PM
I live in Minnesota and am a cousin of Keith's. I have never seen Keith coach but I know for a fact that he is AWESOME!!! The Morin's are a wrestling family. Keith's nephew, Steve Fisher, has participated in a wrestling competition in Fargo, North Dakota and I have attended the event twice - it was wonderful!!! I am very proud of the the Morin's for all their accomplishments and wish the best to Keith in his retirement!!! -Shelly-
ashley knutson February 24, 2011 at 02:14 PM
oh my! mr morin was a teacher of mine about 8 years ago, he was a great health teacher and i will never forget him that is awesome he is on something as big as aol news. he deserves it for all the passion he has put into the greenfield school system. way to go mr morin!
Dan Zawacki February 27, 2011 at 09:28 PM
Coach Morin is the best coach I ever had! He never gave up on me even when I wanted to give up on myself. Thank you so much for everything Coach!!
Ed Mermolia March 02, 2011 at 03:00 PM
Coach Morin is the best Greenfield Coach ever! Good luck Coach on your retirment. You area special person!
Keith Morin March 28, 2011 at 03:10 AM
My pleasure to be your coach Dan. Heart of the Hawk!
Keith Morin March 28, 2011 at 03:11 AM
Thanks for the kind words. I enjoyed my teaching and coaching years at Greenfield. Go Hawks!
Keith Morin March 28, 2011 at 03:14 AM
Sure had fun at all of the National Tournaments in Fargo. I have a wonderful family with many great relatives. Thanks for all the great times and for supporting us in Fargo. Love to all!
Keith Morin March 28, 2011 at 03:14 AM
Ed, you are too kind. Thanks!
Patrick Bruyette April 01, 2011 at 04:55 AM
Hey coach , its funny my senior year I wanted to have this big long speech about what an amazing individual you were, and i realized that it would have taken a day or two and cut it short. I can say whole heartedly that I do not know if i admirer any man more, even over my own father. Your wrestling program helped me find more pride and inner strength then anything else before, and I will maintain that sense of pride and strength throughout the rest of my life. I thank you for helping to instill those strengths within me, i know that in more ways then one it has changed what my life is to become. I have always believed that if I could grow up to have your level of integrity, and do things by the book the way you do, that I will do well. Your loving hawk Patrick Bruyette.
Keith Morin April 01, 2011 at 10:58 AM
Patrick, do you remember at the banquet when I said I was happy I would get to coach you three more years...you were just a freshmen but I knew you had a world of talent. You have come so far as both as a wrestler and a young man. I am so proud to be your coach.
Christian Vazquez October 26, 2011 at 12:31 AM
From the first day I entered the lunchroom in middle school to go to my first wrestling practice to the day I left the wrestling banquet Coach Morin inspired me to be more. I remember a fat kid with asthma and coach rooting me on to finish the sprint. Coach I will always remember you as a coach, teacher, and friend. Enjoy some much needed rest. GO HAWKS!!!! Class of 2007
Dan Bartol July 11, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Wow, I remember coach Morin very well. He was my wrestling coach and health teacher in Middle School from 97-99. I was a terrible student then and that kept me on the bench for most wrestling meets, but he was one of the few men who actually encouraged me during that time when I didn't have a father around. I'm grateful to God for his service and I'll always have fond memories of him.

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