Rigby High School has welcomed a new wrestling coach who seeks to start a winning tradition in the sport at the school.

Jacob Eck, 26, originally of Driggs and Blackfoot is a familiar face at Rigby High School, most recently holding the Assistant Coach position during last year’s season. But after the former head coach stepped down due to personal reasons, Eck took up the post. 

Eck began his wrestling career when he was six-years-old and still competes today. He wrestled for a short time in college in Montana, but a knee injury in the preseason cut his career there short. After moving back to the area five years ago, Eck has been coaching club kids and then worked his way to the high school level.

“I’ve been coaching kids from Pocatello all the way to here. We have kids from all over east Idaho that train with us,” he said. “We’ve been doing good things.”

Eck said he wanted to become a coach because he wanted to be a positive influence on the kids he coaches.

“I had really good influences in my life growing up that were coaches that impacted me in a positive way, and I just want to be that for these kids,” he said. “Just a way to give back and give the kids something positive in their life.”

By and large, Eck said his goal with the team is to develop wrestling as a tradition at the high school and to have the program become more respected to surrounding schools.

“The goal is to take the tradition of Rigby wrestling and what people know it as of right now, and make it into something positive and much more respected as a winning culture,” he said.

To do this he said it takes a lot of hard work from both the wrestlers and the coaches.

“We’ve been practicing since August, we’ve been having open mats, extra workouts and we’re practicing twice a day right now, we have kids that have really high goals,” Eck said. “We have really good assistants at the high school.”

Although he’s coaching now, Eck still competes in tournaments across the country. In doing so he said he can push the kids to do their absolute best by showing them that if he can do it, they can do it.

“I don’t expect anything out of them that I wouldn’t do,” he said.

Overall Eck said he hopes, and plans to be with the team for the future.

“This is something I want to do for as long as they let me,” he said. “I want to be here 20, 30, 40 years. That’s my goal; I want to be here a long time. I want us to be something respected for a very long time.”

Eck and his wife Alexis now live in Rigby and have a one-year-old daughter. When Eck isn't coaching, he is a full-time dad. 

Rigby’s second tournament of the season will be held in Jerome Dec. 7 to 8.