York Comprehensive High School's David Spencer was a near-unanimous choice by area coaches in the voting for The Herald's All-Area Wrestling Coach of the Year.
Cain Beard, who led the Rock Hill Bearcats to a second straight Class AAAA state duals championship appearance, was insistent that Spencer get the honor.
"David's team has come leaps and bounds over his time there and he deserves to be recognized for it,'' Beard wrote on his nomination e-mail. "Us, Fort Mill and South Pointe are expected to be good every year. David took York to the semis, and I think he is definitely the coach of the year.''
Beard's opinion was just what Spencer has hoped to do, not win coach of the year but to see improvement from his team every year. This is his fourth, and the last two have bumped the Cougars into the inner circle.
Although York is not yet quite the caliber of the other three, Spencer's team is competitive. The Cougars were 22-10 this season and finished second in Region 3-AAAA for the second consecutive year.
"My goal is for our team to improve every year,'' Spencer said. "Two years ago we made it to the second round of the playoffs. This year we went to the third round. We've improved every year and the kids have bought into what we ask of them.
"They keep setting the bar higher each year. We have 12 of 14 starters back next season. So expectations are high. We have two spots to fill, but we have a good group of middle-schoolers moving up, and we had some kids unable to get into the staring lineup who will help us.''
Spencer is in his environment. He wrestled at York but went to The Citadel on a football scholarship in 2000. He graduated before Christmas in 2004 and spent a semester at Daniel High School near Clemson.
A job opened at York, and in the fall of 2005 Spencer was hired. He came home to give back to his school and students for what had been done for him.