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Coach Gardner leaves the mat after 32 seasons at South Dearborn

Thirty two seasons…32!  Not only is that a long time to stay in one field of work, it’s another thing entirely to coach for over three decades at one school in one sport.  George Gardner did just that at South Dearborn High School.  He started as the Knights’ mat master in 1987 and resigned his position earlier this year.

Coach Gardner’s career TEAM numbers:

  • Dual meet record- 359-149 (.707 winning percentage)
  • EIAC Championships- 11 (1988, ’93, ’94, 2004, ’05, ’07, ’08, ’10, ’13, ’15 and ’18)
  • EIAC Runner-up- (25 of 32 seasons, Gardener’s teams finished first or second in the EIAC)
  • Sectional Championships- 9 (1996, 2001, ’02, ’08, ’10, ’14, ’15, ’16 and ’18)
  • Sectional Runner-up- 13 (22 of 32 seasons, Gardner’s teams finished first or second at Sectional)
  • Regional Championships- 6 (1994, 2007, ’08, ’15, ’18 and ’19)
  • Regional Runner-up- 2 (1996, 2005)
  • “Triple Crown” Seasons of EIAC, Sectional and Regional titles- 3 (2008,’15 and ’18)

Coach Gardner’s INDIVIDUAL champions/qualifiers:

  • EIAC Champions- 86
  • Sectional Champions- 81
  • Regional Champions- 33
  • Semi-State Champions- 3
  • Semi-State qualifiers- 110
  • State qualifiers- 18 (5 with top 8 podium finishes)

In addition to 32 years of impressive leadership with the SD wrestling program, Gardner was a three-season coach for 25 years.  His other sports and academic club activities over the years included: football, cross country, girls soccer, girls track, elementary girls basketball, science academic team and science club.

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