BENNINGTON -- After the Mount Anthony Union High School wrestling team captured its second consecutive New England championship in March, the accolades continue to pour in.
MAU coach Scott Legacy, in his 29th season leading the Patriots, was chosen as the Coach of the Year for the USA Today all-USA Wrestling Team.
"It's funny the way it happened, it was after wrestling club, I got a couple of text messages from coaches i know, all said congratulations on the award," Legacy said. "So I texted back, ‘Thanks,' but I thought it was about the season or Dream Team."
The team was complied by Jason Bryant at theopenmat.com, a leading amateur wrestling site, and chosen by Pablo DeMaria, a Californian who is the site's high school coordinator.
"We were contracted by USA Today to make the team and I've known [Scott] since 1997, when my team beat MAU in a dual," said Bryant, a native Minnesotan. "You look at the powerhouses -- Clovis (Calif.), Blair Academy (N.J.) -- there's not a lot of that in Vermont, but MAU continues to perform at a high level."
Legacy's ability to propel his wrestlers to the college level also played a role in being chosen for the honor, Bryant said.
"He's putting a ton of guys in college wrestling rooms, especially coming from a state that's not heavily recruited," Bryant said. "With how good that team is, to consistently replace and get kids in the program, it's a huge community thing. [Scott] sees it as a way to get kids to the next level."
In his career, Legacy has coached 158 state champions, including four 4-time champions. He has over 600 dual meet victories with the Patriots.
"I'm very blessed," Legacy said. "The [USA Today story] talks about the winning in the program over time, that's what I'm most proud of. It talked about Bennington and the size of our town, and it goes back to representing [Bennington]."
Legacy said that for all the accolades he's received over the years, the praise really belongs to the wrestlers and assistant coaches that have worked with the MAU program.
"The story talks about the school and town in a good light," Legacy said. "Locally, all the coaches here wrestled for me. And I have guys coaching all over the place. They are giving back to wrestling and that means a lot to me."
Bryant summed up the selection simply.
"It's not hard to take guys from great to superior, but Scott takes a lot of kids from good to great," Bryant said.