Former Husky moving up in world of Oregon wrestling

Scott Swanson

Standing on the mats Monday morning at the 15th Annual Santiam Wrestling Camp in the Main Gym at Sweet Home High School, Kyle Temple was in very familiar territory.

The Cottage Grove head wrestling coach had been here many times before, beginning at the first-ever Santiam camp in 2001.

“I can remember sleeping on the mats just like all the other campers,” said Temple, who grew up in Sweet Home and wrestled for Steve Thorpe, who continues to run the summer conditioning camp with Newberg Coach Neil Russo and Mike Simons of Thurston.

“There’s a lot of the technique and it was kind of fun for me to learn stuff from different coaches, to see that a lot of the things we were doing in high school that Coach Thorpe was teaching us was what the other top programs were doing. So it was kind of neat to have that kind of symmetry through the top programs.”

Temple, whose parents Alan and Debbie both taught and coached at Sweet Home High School, wrestled for four years at Southern Oregon University, before moving on to complete a master’s program at Western Oregon.

He returned and then came back to Sweet Home to coach for two years at the junior high, assisting with the high school team. He then went to Sprague for a year as wrestling coach and teacher, but lost his job due to “crazy budget issues” and moved to Stayton, where he coached for three years. In 2013 he got a call from the athletic director at Cottage Grove and ended up taking the head wrestling coach position there, where he’s been the past two years.

“I really enjoy the colleagues I work with, and I enjoy my students and athletes,” he said. He coaches three sports – middle school football, wrestling and girls golf.

“I get to work with a wide variety of kids in the community, which is really fun for me,” Temple said.

Thorpe said he’s been in regular contact with his former wrestler during that period. Temple has been organizing Oregon Wrestling traveling teams for the past several years and this year has joined the organization’s leadership group.

“I’m proud of Kyle that he’s here and he’s taken over our Junior Division for us as an association this last year,” said Thorpe, who chairs Oregon Wrestling. “It’s pretty cool that he’s giving back to the sport. Now he’s heading to Fargo for the first time as Junior Director, not just as a coach for one of the teams.”

The Santiam Wrestling Camp, Thorpe and Temple both said, has come “full circle.” After the Junior Nationals training camp moved elsewhere for a spell, the Santiam camp has now become the training camp for both the Junior and Cadet national teams, as well as non-qualifying wrestlers who just want to improve. This year’s camp totals about 150 participants.

“We have 52 campers training alongside some of the best in Oregon,” Thorpe said. “There’s kids in that room that are already All-Americans. Selfishly, my Sweet Home kids get to benefit by working out with these guys.”

Temple said not much has changed. The campers still run the steep climb up Turbyne Road in the morning and compete in camp Olympics, tug of war and dodgeball, “which are always big hits.”

“We did all the camp activities we do. A lot of the same clinicians come in, year in and year out.”