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Oxford coach Paul McDevitt to step down after this season WITH PHOTO GALLERY

  • Oxford coach Paul McDevitt (left) added another team regional title to the Wildcats' collection. (MIPrepZone file photo).
  • Oxford coach Paul McDevitt had his own style of monitoring matches. (MIPrepZone file photo).
  • The Oxford coaching staff was in to their matches. (MIPrepZone file photo).
  • Alex Hrisopoulos was one of many outstanding wrestlers coached by Paul McDevitt. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)
  • Coaches Paul McDevitt (left) and Brandon Rank were around to support their wrestlers. (MIPrepZone file photo).
  • Oxford coach Paul McDevitt (left) and Brandon Rank eye the match during the state tournament. (MIPrepZone file photo).

Veteran coach helped restore Wildcats to state prominence

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Whether its win, lose or draw, Paul McDevitt is in the final weeks as head wrestling coach at Oxford High School.

First its the Division 1 team state championships Feb. 24-25 at McGuirk Arena at Central Michigan University, then the D1 individual state tournament the following weekend at the Palace of Auburn Hills, where hell culminate some 20 seasons at the helm of one of the states most successful wrestling programs.

Its been a special year for me, all these things Ive been going through Im kind of savoring the moment, said McDevitt, whose retirement has been contemplated the last few years. Im going to miss the grand march, sitting in the chair in the finals. Im reflecting back, thinking about my own high school team and high school coach and how hard it is to get to that state tournament. Nine of the last 10 years, I think about it and said, Wow, I was really blessed to be with some great kids and great parents.

As principal of Leonard Elementary School and with his wife and children, along with wrestling practices, meets and tournaments, his plate of duties was overflowing, which is the main reason hell step down.

The amount of work it takes to maintain this level of competitiveness is a lot, he said. Principal during the day, my kids it would be really hard for me to go backwards.

McDevitt was an all-state wrestler at Holly High School under veteran coach Don Pluta. He took over a dormant program, inheriting only around eight wrestlers while slowly developing the program. Oxford reached the D2 state tournament in 1999 and have made periodic visits ever since, especially in the last decade where the Wildcats have won a D1 state title (2011) and had a state runnerup finish (2012), to go with numerous OAA Red, Flint Metro, regional and district championships.

Hes coached a number of all-state and state champion wrestlers, including Dylan Smith, Eric Ghiaciuc, Prescott Line and others.

A replacement for McDevitt is yet to be named, but I anticipate we maintain the type of stability that weve had, McDevitt said. Ive been preparing for this for a few years. Its going to be in good hands.

Last Updated: 2/22/2017 8:49:38 PM EST

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