From 1989-2007, McEachern won 10 traditional state championships, three state duals titles, 21 region traditional championships, six region duals titles and 13 Cobb County Invitational crowns.
In 2003 and ’07, McEachern accomplished what only a few Georgia programs have been able to do — sweep the dual and traditional championships on both the region and state level. The Indians also added Cobb County Invitational crowns to their haul each year, giving them the five prestigious victories to their credit.
No other wrestling program in the county had come close to accomplishing such a feat.
That is, until now.
Look out McEachern, here comes Pope.
The Greyhounds, while no where near the history and tradition of McEachern’s vaunted program, are on their way to establishing something special in east Cobb. Pope also duplicated the five-tournament sweep established by the Indians in ’03 and ’07.
Pope has now claimed six Cobb County titles, including the last five, as well as five region duals and traditional titles, two state traditional championships and one state duals crown.
The latter of which was a definitive 56-10 win over the defending Class AAAA state duals champion Woodland-Bartow.
All of Pope’s most recent success has come under the auspices of coach Jim Haskin, who recently completed his 17th season at the helm of the Greyhounds.
For leading Pope to all its success this year, Haskin is been the 2011-12 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Wrestling Coach of the Year.
“This puts us in really good company with McEachern, which is a legendary program in this state,” Haskin said. “They were the team to emulate for so many years. I always looked up to them and tried to find out what it takes to build a program like that and have what they have.
“I learned it takes having the right people at every level, and of course having great kids who want to succeed at the highest level possible. I think that’s what we’re starting to build here at Pope.”
Pope wasn’t done with just a sweep of the in-state championships. The Greyhounds ventured outside of Georgia, where they won the McCallie Invitational in Chattanooga, Tenn., for the second time in three years and placed second at the prestigious tournament Brecksville, Ohio, one of the oldest events of its kind in the country.
Pope completed the year with a 27-1 duals record and went undefeated in Georgia.
“The guys grew up a little bit,” Haskin said. “Last year, we had a bunch of freshman and sophomores on the team, and it showed. We were young. This year, I saw more maturity. The guys were in the training room more, and workouts were intense. They did a better job in the room and gained more muscle to get bigger and stronger. They had better behavior overall and a better attitude about going about their business. It was good to see.”
Haskin noted that he was most pleased about the way his wrestlers won the Class AAAA state duals championship. After losing to Woodland in last year’s semifinals, the Greyhounds responded with a vengeance against the Wildcats in this year’s final.
“State duals was really special,” Haskin said. “The kids were on all cylinders in that match, and to win it as strongly as we did against a very good team was really impressive. I also like how we responded after the first day of the state traditional meet. To come from behind and take control like we did over the final two days was also good to see.”
While Haskin helmed the Greyhounds to their most successful season in program history, he couldn’t have done it without his staff of assistants, who have also been critical to the Pope’s successful rise.
“We wouldn’t be this successful without those guys who are always with me training,” Haskin said. “They get as much credit for our success as I do.”