BOYNE CITY — Justin Perkins is ready to step up.
The Boyne City assistant wrestling coach removed the “assistant” from his title Thursday, when he was approved as head wrestling coach by the school board.
The 21-year-old served as an assistant under Bob South, who retired this spring after six years leading the Ramblers program.
Perkins served as South’s assistant coach the last two years after a standout career at Atlantic High School in Port Orange, Florida, where he placed in the state championships for the Sharks. He grew up in Charlevoix before moving to Florida.
“He pretty much taught me everything I need to know to do the job and be prepared for it,” Perkins said. “Being a coach is a lot more that being out on the mat and teaching moves. It takes dedication every day. It’s a huge commitment thing and you have to be there every day.”
Perkins works at the Charlevoix Township Water and Maintenance Department.
Perkins said he had a full spring schedule of tournaments lined up through USA Wrestling, leading up to the state tournament, but all those were wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic.
“When he first came to volunteer, it was evident he had a solid background in wrestling and a deep understanding of technique,” South said. “He provided a very hands-on willingness to make the kids better. At the same time, I realized that he and I shared a lot of common values and beliefs in regards to wrestling and life.
Toward the end of last season, as I became aware of my desire to step away from the head coaching position following my son’s senior year, I could sense Justin’s interest in doing more and asked if he would consider being the next head coach. He enthusiastically said yes and ... absorbed everything like a sponge.”
South also served as an assistant coach at Boyne for two years prior to taking over as head coach. The Ramblers won the program’s first district title in his first season as head coach.
Perkins said he really enjoyed the Ramblers’ participation in this year’s girls wrestling state tournament where Boyne’s Bizzy Turnbull and Petoskey’s Lydia Krauss both finished in the top four of their weight classes.