Thivierge leaves Carson for home
By Charles Whisnand
Appeal Sports Editor
When Bear Bryant left Texas A&M to coach at his alma mater Alabama, he said that "Mama was calling him home."
Mama has just called Tyson Thivierge home. Thivierge, who has coached the Carson High School wrestling program the last two seasons, has left that position to accept the head coaching job at his alma mater, Montana State University-Northern in Havre, Mont.
Northern is a traditional NAIA power and Thivierge helped the Lights continue that high standard when he wrestled at the school.
"It was too good of an opportunity to pass up," said Thivierge, who accepted the Northern job on Thursday. "The intention has always been to coach at the collegiate level."
Thivierge said the way he looked at the situation was "I have a great job here," commenting on Carson "and I can get another great job. I jumped right on it."
It will be difficult to leave Carson, Thivierge said, especially up and coming wrestlers like Nick Schlager, Junior Valadarez and Ricky Urgarte. Schlager took third at the NIAA 4A State Championships this past season.
"It's extremely tough," Thivierge said. "I'm bummed to leave those guys. Their work ethic is going to get them further. Hopefully someday I'll get to recruit them up to Northern."
Under Thivierge in his first year, Carson won the Northern 4A title in 2007 and finished third in the Northern 4A this past season. Even though Carson has maintained a high level of success, it's been difficult because there has been a revolving door of coaches in recent years and Thivierge leaving continues that coaching carousel.
Since 2002, no head coach has been with the program for more than two years. Still, Thivierge believes that Carson has the foundation to continue its success, noting the youth program, the Carson Bulldogs, will continue to help. "They're on the right track right now," Thivierge said. "They'll be very successful."
Thivierge has been successful as a wrestler and coach. At Northern, he was a four-time All-American, finishing third twice, second once and winning the national title as a senior in 2002. Northern also won two national titles, finished fifth and finished second during Thivierge's career.
Before coming to Carson, Thivierge served as an assistant to Olympian Terry Brands and Division I Tennessee-Chattanooga and the two sent five wrestlers to the national championships at the school.
Northern has won six national titles, including four straight since 1991, and has had nine straight years of top three finishes. The program has been a traditional top five power.
"There's difficult shoes to fill," Thivierge said. "I feel like I've got the necessary tools to put them as the No. 1 program in the nation.
"I think they know that I know the expectations. I know exactly what I'm getting into. This is my dream and my family and I are very excited. We love Havre and we can't wait to get up there."
Another difficult part of leaving Carson for Northern, Thivierge said jokingly, is that he's already confusing the NAIA with the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association - the NIAA.
Thivierge earned a degree in physical education from Northern. "Tyson is a great fit for our wrestling program and the Havre community," Northern athletic director Mark Samson said. "We are very pleased to have Tyson joining our staff at MSU-Northern."