BENNINGTON — After three decades as the Mount Anthony Union High School wrestling coach and 27 straight Vermont state championships, Scott Legacy will depart at the end of the season to start a new varsity program at Castleton University in 2016.
Castleton's Associate Dean for Athletics, Deanna Tyson said that the school has been discussing a wrestling program for the past two years and had been looking for a coach.
"We headhunted Scott to start a program here and he was open to it," Tyson said. "We thought, 'Who would we want to be our coach?' Scott seemed like a perfect fit. He's in Vermont, we couldn't find a better coach."
Legacy is known in wrestling circles nationwide. The New England Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee and 2014 USA Today National coach of the year has won more than 94 percent of the matches, including eight New England championships — the last three consecutively — and eight more second place finishes. Fifteen of his teams have been ranked in the top-25 nationally.
Under Legacy's tutelage, a national-record 168 Mount Anthony wrestlers have won state championships, and 84 All-Americans. Twenty-eight of his wrestlers have won New England titles and some have wrestled at the sport's highest levels.
Legacy has been courted in the past by Williams and other Division III schools, but had turned down all offers.
"First of all, I am truly honored to be given the opportunity to lead the new wrestling program from the ground up at Castleton University," said Legacy in a statement released by the university on Thursday morning. "I would like to thank President Wolk, Scott Dikeman and Deanna Tyson for creating the opportunity for student-athletes who want to wrestle in college. Especially those student-athletes from Vermont who want to stay close to home and be part of a university which is growing academically and athletically. Coaching in college is the next natural progression for me. My goal is to hopefully be an ambassador for Vermont wrestling on the college level, while providing student-athletes with memories and a family-type atmosphere that Castleton already provides as one of the leading universities in Vermont."
In addition to his coaching merits, Legacy has held many leadership positions within the wrestling community. He has been a board member of the National High School Coaches Association since 2002 and has been the Vermont state chairman for USA Wrestling for nearly 30 years and is the co-President of Catamount Wrestling Club.
Legacy isn't the first Southern Vermont coach to make the jump to Castleton. Arlington boys soccer coach John Werner is second on the all-time high school wins list and left for Castleton, where he coached for eight seasons before retiring.
"John was a great coach at Castleton and we saw what he did at Arlington," Tyson said. "If Scott has the same success at the next level — and not just in wins and losses, but academics as well — that will be great."