Coach pacing his return after recent heart surgery
One could say Dean Moss has given his heart and soul to Tonganoxie wrestling.
In late December, though, his heart couldn't give any more.
Moss, who has been involved with wrestling in Tonganoxie for 10 years, suffered a mild heart attack on Dec. 30.
The next day, Moss had surgery, during which two stints were put in one of his arteries at Providence Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.
The attack came on the same day the Kansas State University Wildcats were playing in their bowl game, but Moss discredited any correlation between the game and his condition.
"It had nothing to do with it," Moss said. "Bill (DeWitt) would've liked for that to have been the reason.
"I graduated from KU also."
Moss has been the junior high's only coach, leading that program the last five years. He's also been an assistant at the high school for 10 years.
The junior high season already was completed when Moss had his attack, but the high school season was just a month old. In Moss' absence, Bill Folsom and Bryce Ferris stepped in for Moss.
"Alumni also shared their words of wisdom," DeWitt said.
Folsom and Ferris recently became Rule 10 coaches as well, so the coaching staff is now at four. But for DeWitt, having Moss away was difficult.
"Well, it was actually quite a big loss," DeWitt said. "He's been around the sport for a long time and has a wealth of knowledge. I missed the extra set of eyes."
Moss was back in action Jan. 12 when he coached in the Tonganoxie Invitational. The daylong event left him tired and he knew when he needed to sit back and let the wrestlers compete, especially senior Josh Ferris.
"I kind of get excited coaching him," Moss said.
As more tournaments have passed, Moss has been able to tolerate the longer competitions. He felt fine at Baldwin's all-day event on Jan. 26.
DeWitt still wants him to take things slowly.
"The guy was going crazy being at home," DeWitt said. "I kept telling him 'take your time, take your time.'
"He's taking very good care of his body. He makes sure I do the yelling and the fussing."
The recovery has been steady for Moss. Employed at Honeywell Federal Manufacturing and Technologies in Kansas City, Mo., Moss will continue to work half-days for two more weeks.
And Moss now attends wrestling practice and gets on the mats. But he's just coaching on the mats he doesn't wrestle the heavier wrestlers as he used to.
At least not for a while.