HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Derek Greening felt like he was walking onto the floor at Mizzou Arena rather than the Hannibal athletics office Wednesday afternoon.
But instead of coaching another wrestler in the state championships, Greening was making his intentions known to step down as the Hannibal wrestling team's coach after 13 seasons. Greening announced to the team he was stepping down during Thursday night's postseason banquet.
"It's taken me a long time to allow myself to do it," Greening said. "I was nervous. It was like a state championship match. But what reassures me is there are great coaches in this program that will keep it going without missing a beat."
Greening helped continue the tradition when he took over in 2006.
During his tenure, nine wrestlers won individual state championships, including Chandler Fohey's three straight titles from 2013-15 as he became the third Pirate grappler to accomplish that feat.
"I guess the way to sum up my tenure is we had a lot of good kids," Greening said. "You can be as good as coach as you want, but if the kids don't buy in you won't be successful. I've had great kids, great coaches, and great families and that made for a successful environment."
He relished every chance to coach a grappler at the state championships. Seeing them be successful meant more.
"You're around them four months out of the year, if not more," Greening said. "They do become a family. We're kind of family and take after each other and want to see us win state championships."
Family also is why Greening is stepping down. His son, Kaleb, now wrestles at Hannibal-LaGrange University, and has daughters play winter sports in Hannibal.
Now he gets the time to watch them compete.
"I gotta spend time with my family," Greening said. "My son is wrestling in college now and I missed his whole season."