Gamberg has to step down at Douglas |

Gamberg has to step down at Douglas

by Joey Crandall

Douglas High School wrestling coach Mike Gamberg was asked to step down earlier this week due to scheduling conflicts with his daytime job and coaching the team.

“Mike didn’t do anything wrong,” Douglas Athletic Director Steve Wilcox said. “He is a great coach and a great guy, but we just needed someone who could be here all the time.

“We had to restructure because logistically, we needed someone responsible for this team at all times. It was not Mike’s fault. Sometimes his job just precludes him from being here.”

The decision came after Gamberg, a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper, missed Monday’s practice because he was attending a Homeland Security training class.

“We were all pretty upset,” Gamberg said. “We’re a close-knit team. I’ve been with this program for five years, and I’ve had to miss practice like this several times before. It’s never been a problem before.”

Wilcox said the issue basically came down to liability.

“If you were an administrator at this school and you had a wrestling practice and there was nobody there for practice, who is liable?” Wilcox said. “The assistant coaches weren’t under stipend. If they are not employees, it doesn’t mean squat.

“Somebody has to be responsible liability-wise, especially in wrestling.”

Wilcox said the decision wasn’t based solely on Monday’s practice.

“It’s something we’ve been looking at for quite a while,” he said. “We just needed to do it now because we felt we couldn’t let it go any longer.

“Mike did a great job here and he would be more than welcome to continue coaching here but we felt some restructuring needed to be done.”

Gamberg’s predecessor, Mark Lilly, a teacher at Douglas, will assume the head coaching role for the Tigers for the remainder of the season.

Gamberg said although he is disappointed to be leaving, he wanted to thank the community for its support over the last several years.

“I sure appreciated all the help we got with the fund-raising, and how everyone got behind this wrestling program,” Gamberg said. “This county has really welcomed me and my family. I enjoyed the time I have been coaching here and I definitely wish this could’ve turned out differently. I had a lot of work to do and I wasn’t finished with that yet.”

Gamberg said he was on the Governor’s security team for his first two years coaching with the team and often stayed up as long as 24 hours working and then traveling with the team to weekend tournaments. He and his wife are raising four children in the Valley, and he just recently received his bachelor’s degree. He is also a firearms instructor and teaches at the NHP academy.

“I stay busy at work, stay busy at home,” he said. “Being a wrestling coach has been a huge sacrifice but it was worth it.

“Douglas High wrestling has the makings of a dynasty now, and I take a lot of pride in that,” he said. “We’re a young team and we’ve got a lot of hard workers. They will do well.”