BILLINGS — Brian Reichenbach is excited for this opportunity.
The 2002 Billings Skyview graduate and state champion wrestler was recently hired as the new Shepherd wrestling coach. He succeeds Don Jenkins, who was not retained as Shepherd administrators decided to go in another direction.
Reichenbach has served as a high school assistant coach for 11 seasons. His first job as an assistant was at Shepherd for two seasons beginning in 2006. He has also coached at Billings West, Casper Natrona in Wyoming, Rawlins (Wyoming), and Billings Skyview.
“It feels really good. I’m happy to have my own program now,” Reichenbach, who teaches Spanish at Castle Rock and Medicine Crow middle schools, said. “I’m coming back to where I started coaching.
“I enjoy coaching the sport of wrestling. It’s given me so much in life, I want to give back. I’ve been an assistant a dozen years and learned a lot from head coaches and want to build a program.”
Reichenbach, 34, said Tyler Gilfeather will return as an assistant coach for the Mustangs.
Reichenbach met with his new team before the school year ended.
“I told them, 'I’ll push you. I know there is more in you than you can see in yourself,' ” he said. “There is plenty of talent out there. We just have to tap into it.”
Reichenbach paid his dues. After he graduated high school, Reichenbach served in the Marines for four years. Reichenbach, who achieved the rank of sergeant, was stationed in Japan for two years and later served a six-month tour in Iraq in 2005.
As a Marine, Reichenbach wrestled in freestyle tournaments against other U.S. servicemen. He was selected to try out for the All-Marine Wrestling Team but said his orders were changed because of the Southeast Asia tsunami in 2004.
“It was freestyle, so it was different,” Reichenbach said. “I won almost every tournament I entered.
“I remember bumping up to wrestle my buddy and ended up losing at a higher weight class.”
Reichenbach later returned to Billings and graduated from Montana State Billings in 2011. He and his wife, Athena, have three sons.
At Skyview, Reichenbach was a member of the school’s state championship teams in 2001 and 2002. He won his state championship at 130 pounds as a senior, and was fifth at state at 98 pounds as a freshman. Reichenbach’s brother, Ben, is an assistant wrestling coach at West.
One of the steps Reichenbach said he will take as Shepherd coach is to work with the local youth program.
“That’s how you build championships is to get little kids passionate about the sport,” he said.
Shepherd is hosting a wrestling camp for grades 2-12 June 28-30 at Shepherd High School. Clinicians are Brandon Weber, Matt Weber and Luke Weber of Forsyth.
“I’m excited to do a camp and build on our wrestling tradition,” Reichenbach said. “That’s why we start with second grade is to get them started young, but not too young.”