Skyline High School has found its newest leaders for its wrestling and golf programs.
School athletic director Bill Cupp announced last week the appointments of Kyle Symons as head wrestling coach and Monty Goff as as the golf team coach, adding that both hires were approved by the Warren County School Board last Wednesday.
For Symons, a 2004 Millbrook High School graduate, his newest venture marks his first as a high school head coach after spending years as an assistant with Millbrook and Musselman (West Virginia).
“Really excited about the opportunity here,” Symons said, noting that he’s been the head coach of a couple club wrestling teams in the area over the last few years. “Skyline has a great program and a good tradition, and I’m excited to bring my knowledge into there and hopefully take that program to new heights.”
Symons takes over the position after the departure of the Hawks’ longtime head coach Matt Keel, who accepted a job at Chantilly High School. Keel had served as Skyline’s head wrestling coach since the school opened in 2007.
Symons was an assistant wrestling coach at Millbrook from 2005-2012 before serving in that same capacity at Musselman through this past school year. A high school wrestler, Symons attended Sherando for the first three years of his high school career before transferring to Millbrook when the school opened in 2003, he said.
During Symons’ time as an assistant at Millbrook, the Pioneers won four Northwestern District tournament titles, two Region II titles, and finished in the top 10 at the Group AA state tournament in all seven of his seasons at the school.
Keel’s 11th and final season at Skyline was one of the program’s most successful. The Hawks set single-season school records for dual victories (25) and state tournament qualifiers (11) in 2017-18, and four wrestlers went on to earn all-state medals in the VHSL Class 3 tournament. Fourteen of the team’s 17 varsity wrestlers last winter were freshmen and sophomores.
Keel was instrumental in building not only Skyline’s high school program but also youth wrestling in Front Royal.
“Coach Keel had a tremendous impact on Skyline Wrestling,” Cupp wrote in an email. “All aspects of our program where designed, developed, and implemented by Matt. He is responsible for the tournaments we host and the out of season program we follow. Coach Keel also founded and operated the Skyline Wrestling Club and the Front Royal Raptors youth wrestling organization that gave our local athletes opportunities to compete at the youth level and in the off-season.”
Symons said part of the allure of the Skyline job was the “setup” of the wrestling program.
“First off, the area’s good, a lot of good wrestling there,” Symons said. “… Just the overall structure of the program’s good, from the youth level all the way up. They have a lot of young talent on the team. Even next year there’s only gonna be one senior, I believe, in the lineup. And just a lot of kids that are right on that cusp of achieving great things. I know they had a state runner-up last year and a kid that was third and a couple other kids that placed low or came close to placing, so I know they have high expectations this year and we’ll continue to have high expectations.”
Symons said he was able to meet with some of Skyline’s wrestlers before members of the team departed for a recent trip to Florida, adding that the Hawks are “excited about the (coaching) change.” Skyline assistant coach Brian Scott will remain on the team’s staff next season, Symons said.
The new head coach said he will place a strong emphasis on mental toughness on the mat with his new team.
“These guys are pretty good with their technique and things from what I’ve seen,” Symons said of the Hawks. “The biggest thing is they have goals and aspirations that take a lot of work and take a lot of effort and a lot of dedication, and while they have that dedication we need to make sure that not just their physical toughness but mental toughness is where it needs to be so those guys are able to compete at the highest level.”
In Goff, Skyline gets an experienced golf coach who should be plenty familiar with the Hawks’ program. Goff is the PGA Assistant Golf Professional at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club – the Hawks’ home course – and provides lessons to many young golfers in the area, including Skyline’s own Lauren Sims, a rising senior who won the Northwestern District tournament last season and placed eighth in the girls state tournament.
Goff replaces Roy Kelly, who spent two seasons coaching Skyline’s golf program before resigning to take a teaching position at Harrisonburg, according to Cupp.
“I’m excited to have Monty take over this position,” Cupp wrote in an email announcing Goff’s hiring. “His knowledge of the game and our home course will be a great attribute to our student-athlete golfers. He has a great personality and likeable demeanor that will make our golf team better.”
Skyline still is searching for a new boys tennis coach after the departure of Josh Brown.