By RICK PETERSON
Damon Parker, who has coached Washburn Rural to three state team championships, garnered the No. 1 position on TopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Shawnee County Coaches wrestling list.
Parker led Washburn Rural's girls to state team championships in 2020 and 2021, the first two seasons girls wrestling was an official Kansas State High School Activities Association sport, and led the Junior Blues to their first boys team championship in 2021, the first state boys team title by a Shawnee County team.
Parker led Rural's boys to state runner-up finishes in 2018 and 2020 and the Rural girls to a runner-up finish this past season. while coaching eight state individual champions, including three multi-time state champs.
Parker stepped down as Rural's boys coach after the 2021 season but is still coaching the girls team.
Current Shawnee Heights coach Chad Parks was tapped for the No. 2 spot on the Best of the Best list, coaching multiple state champions and six T-Bird teams who have finished in the top eight in the Class 5A team standings, including a second-place team finish in 2011 .
Farmer Shawnee Heights coach Robert Gonzales, former Washburn Rural coach Ray Glaze and former Rossville coach Curt Brecheisen round out the top five on the Best of the Best Top 10 list.
Parks and Gonzales earned the top two spots in the Reader's Choice poll, combining for more than 2,800 votes, followed by former Topeka High coach and current Shawnee Heights assistant Erich Singer and Parker in balloting by TSN readers.
A five-person panel of current and past sports media professionals with more than 150 years of combined experience met to help determine the final Best of the Best Top 10.
Former Seaman coach Dennis Switzky is No. 6 on the Best of the Best list, followed by former Silver Lake coach Harry LaMar, current Washburn Rural state champion coach Josh Hogan, former Seaman coach Pat Kelly and former Topeka High coach Beau Vest to round out the top 10.
Here's a look at the Top 10 and Readers Choice Awards:
TSN TOP 10 BEST OF THE BEST WRESTLING COACHES
1. Damon Parker -- Parker led Washburn Rural's girls to state team championships in the first two seasons girls wrestling was an official Kansas State High School Activities Association sport in 2020 and 2021 and he also led the Junior Blues to their first boys team championship in 2021. Parker led Rural's boys to state runner-up finishes in 2018 and 2020 and the Rural girls to a runner-up finish this past season. while coaching eight state individual champions, including three multi-time state champs. Parker stepped down as Rural's boys coach after the 2021 season but is still coaching the girls team.
2. Chad Parks -- Parks took over as Shawnee Heights head wrestling coach in 2006 and the T-Birds have been a consistent Centennial League/United Kansas Conference contender and a top Class 5A program, with Parks coaching multiple individual state champions. Parks led Shawnee Heights' boys to a state runner-up team finish in 2011 and a fifth-place girls team finish this past season.
3. Robert Gonzales -- Gonzales built Shawnee Heights into a top-notch program from 1985-2005 before moving on to Manhattan where he led the Indians to three Class 6A state titles. Gonzales, who also served as an assistant coach at Topeka West early in his career, coached multiple state champions while at Shawnee Heights, including two-time champion and former Stanford All-American Tanner Gardner.
4. Ray Glaze -- The late Glaze, who passed away in 2020 at the age of 85, was a coaching legend as Washburn Rural's head wrestling coach and football assistant. Glaze coached multiple individual state champions with the the Junior Blues, including former two-time state champion Scott Murray.
5. Curt Brecheisen -- Now the athletic director at Rossville, Brecheisen had a successful run as the Bulldawgs' wrestling coach, including four top-three Class 3A-1A team finishes and a pair of runner-up finishes. Brecheisen coached four-time state individual champion Tagen Lambotte and three-time state champ Duane Zlatnik.
6. Dennis Switzky -- Switzky coached 32 seasons at Seaman before a six-year stint at Royal Valley, coaching 69 regional champions, 69 state placers and seven state champions in his career. His career dual record was 318-108 and twice at Seaman he had teams go undefeated in duals (13-0 in 1988-89 and 12-0 in 1999-2000).
7. Harry LaMar -- LaMar turned in a lengthy stint as Silver Lake's head coach, coaching multiple state champions and a multitude of Class 3A-1A state placers. LaMar served as an assistant coach on Washburn Rural's Class 6A state championship team in 2021.
8. Josh Hogan -- A longtime youth wrestling coach, Hogan has only been a high school head coach for one season, but that 2022 season resulted in Washburn Rural's second straight Class 6A state team championship. Hogan coached a pair of state individual champs -- Aidan Boline and Austin Fager.
9. Pat Kelly -- Kelly, who stepped down as Seaman's wrestling coach following the 2022 season, led the Vikings to a fifth-place team finish in Class 5A in 2015, a sixth-place finish in 2016 and a fourth-place showing in 2017. Kelly coached two-time state champ Bryant Guillen, state champion Bailey Kelly and three-time top three finisher Dawson Podlena.
10. Beau Vest -- A former two-time Class 6A state champion at Topeka High and a former national collegiate champion at Missouri Valley, Vest coached his alma mater for six years, where he coached 11 state medalists, three state finalists and two state champions before moving on to the collegiate level. Vest is currently the head coach at Cowley College.
READERS CHOICE WRESTLING AWARDS
1. Chad Parks -- No. 2 in TSN Best of the Best Top 10 (see capsule above).
2. Bob Gonzalez -- No. 3 in TSN Best of the Best Top 10 (see capsule above).
3. Erich Singer -- Singer, a former state placer at Hayden, served as head coach at Topeka HIgh and is currently an assistant coach at Shawnee Heights.
4. Damon Parker -- No. 1 in TSN Best of the Best Top 10 (see capsule above).
5. Curt Brecheisen -- No. 5 in TSN Best of the Best Top 10 (see capsule above).
6. Freddy Maisberger -- A former star wrestler at Highland Park, Maisberger is the longtime head wrestling coach at his alma mater, coaching the Scots for 27 seasons. Maisberger also coaches cross country and track.
7. Beau Vest -- No. 10 in TSN Best of the Best Top 10 (see capsule above).
8. Josh Hogan -- No. 8 in TSN Best of the Best Top 10 (see capsule above).
9. Ray Glaze -- No. 4 in TSN Best of the Best Top 10 (see capsule above).
10. Pat Kelly -- No. 9 in TSN Best of the Best Top 10 (see capsule above).