Nate Ethridge leaving Chippewa Hills for Georgia

Nate Ethridge won more than 500 wrestling matches at Chippewa Hills. (File photo)

REMUS — Nate Ethridge, one of the state’s top wrestling coaches the past several years, is moving south.

Ethridge, a teacher and coach at Chippewa Hills, and his wife, athletic director Chi Ethridge, will be moving to Suwanee Ga., with their family later this month.

The winner of more than 500 matches during his stay at Chippewa Hills, Ethridge will be the head wrestling coach at Collins Hill High School, which has an enrollment of 3,300 with 7A classification, the largest in Georgia.

Chippewa Hills has an enrollment of 550.

Ethridge said Collins HiIl has won eight state titles in wrestling, and finished fourth in duals and fourth in the traditional state tournament last year.

“Chi has always wanted to go south,” Ethridge said. “We talked about it for several years. It was about timing and location.  My (oldest) daughter Payton graduated, and if we were ever going to do it this was the year. My second (oldest) daughter Alyson does All-Star cheer all over America.  She currently travels to Grand Rapids three days a week. She made a team in Georgia that is with one of the best gyms in the nation.”

Ethridge said he hopes to be in Georgia by June 18 with the rest of the family there by early July.

Ethridge hit the 500-win mark when his team defeated Big Rapids 81-0 and Newaygo 72-16 in January.

Ethridge had spent 18 years of high school coaching at Chippewa Hills. His 2016 team was state runners-up. Last year’s team won CSAA, district and regional titles.

Ethridge was named the National Wrestling Coaches Association Coach of the Year for Michigan for 2016-17.

Ethridge entered last season with a career record of 492-93. His Warriors went 24-0 before losing in the state semifinals.

Asked what he’ll miss about Chippewa Hills, Ethridge replied: “Leaving the people and all the relationships that I have built. I have been in the same program for 18 years.  The families, the wrestlers, they are all just special to me.  Leaving (assistant wrestling coach) Kevin Edwards and (head football coach) Larry Jose, people that have believed in me is really hard…Seeing the kids in school and knowing that our relationship is changing.  I will always be in their corner, just not the same way. It’s sad, it makes me sad, and is the most difficult decision that I have ever made in my life.

Ethridge started coaching at Chippewa Hills in 1998 as assistant wrestling coach, in 1999 as assistant football coach and wrestling coach, left for a year, and came back in 2000 as the head wrestling coach and assistant football coach.  He’s been teaching at Chippewa Hills since 2003 in the middle school.

“I coached and worked for the Hazel Park School district in 1999-2000 when I got married,” Ethridge said.

He added he has recommended Edwards, an assistant since 2000, to be the new wrestling coach.

“He has been the Michigan Coaches Association assistant coach of the year one time and the regional assistant coach of the year three times,” Ethridge said. “The program will be in more than capable hands. The rest of the wrestling organization will be in tact with no changes.”

Chi Ethridge has been Chippewa Hills athletic director the past several years. The Ethridge children are: Payton 18, Alyson 16, Jaxon 13, Laudon 11 and Taison 8.

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