The Legend Mike Jeffries is returning this season as a volunteer assistant and many in the Helias community are excited about this news.
“Coaching is something you learn, I didn’t walk into the room and go gangbusters right away,” Jeffries said. “It takes time.”
Jeffries stepped down from coaching after the 2003 team won the state wrestling championship, this was the 12th one under Jeffries. The 13 men on the squad at that time were very proud to be a part of Jeffries’s last team.
Though Jeffries coached for decades, he still felt there was more to learn.
“Up until I retired, I believed I was still learning things,” Jeffries said.
Jeffries was known for his enthusiasm and energy and unlimited time he put into the program. Former state champion wrestler under Jeffries, Ted LePage saw firsthand that dedication.
“Being a coach, that’s an exhausting process, and he did it with 13 guys year in and year out,” LePage said. “The energy he put into it was just unmatched.” LePage is now the current head football coach at Jefferson City High School.
The Helias Wrestling program’s success was no secret. Every year once the state tournament rolled around at the Mizzou Hearnes Arena, many felt that it was Helias verses the World. The Crusaders were given a fair amount of boos every time they would step into the Arena. This became the clever catchphrase Helias had many years ago: “Those who can, do; those who can’t, boo.”
Jeffries final season in 2003 did not end his days at Helias. Current returning staff include Bryant Gaines, Steve Wilson, and David Nicolaescu. These three men are all excited to be able to work with Jeffries as he brings his tradition back.
“I still have that deep sense of loyalty I wear on my sleeve,” said Jeffries.
Jeffries’s plan to help coach the Crusaders this season will depend on when the coaching staff reaches out for his help. Jeffries is ready and willing to help once again, even if it will interfere with his hunting schedule.