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Dedrick “Cisco” Payton remembers when Beddingfield High fielded competitive wrestling teams. In fact, the Bruins reigned as conference champions in 2011.
Bruce Pike contends the program can return to that status with adequate numbers and a quick fix.
That responsibility again belongs to Payton.
Beddingfield Athletic Director Jody O’Neal announces that Payton is returning as head wrestling coach, succeeding Pike, who is retiring.
After a handful of seasons in an assistant capacity, Payton became the head coach in 2016-17. However, his Beddingfield position was not funded last year and he continued his association with high school wrestling as an assistant at neighboring Greene Central High, which reached the second round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A playoffs.
Pike stepped in as the Bruins’ head coach.
Payton will also function as defensive coordinator for head coach James Ward’s varsity football team.
“They (Beddingfield wrestlers) were pretty young last year,” Payton noted. “We’ll be young with a little bit of experience this year.
“We have to get the numbers where they need to be and back to the form of having a good program.”
Pike quipped he was retiring because “I got old.”
“Cisco has got experience,” Pike commented, “he gets along well with the kids, knows technique and is in with the football program. He has got the ability to build the program rapidly.”
Payton and Pike spent a couple of seasons together as Beddingfield assistants.
O’Neal hailed Payton as the “perfect fit,” adding: “He will step right in and the transition will be smooth. His coaching football also is a plus; being an on-staff coach always helps.
“We appreciate Coach Pike’s services as wrestling coach and all he has done for Beddingfield.”
The 43-year-old Payton is a 1993 Beddingfield graduate who competed in the sports of wrestling, football and track. He served for 16 years in the U.S. Army. Payton is married to the former Kristy Newkirk of Wilson and they are the parents of a 20-year-old daughter, Brianna; and a 7-year-old son, Dedrick III. He is employed by the school.
“It’s always nice to be back at home,” Payton declared.
He emphasized one of his major responsibilities before the start of workouts in the fall will be to recruit prospective wrestlers. He sees potential with football players.
However, Payton’s approach is cautious. He points out Beddingfield’s enrollment that was approximately 1,100 in 2001 has declined to less than 700 presently.
“It’s really all about increasing kids’ awareness of wrestling and peak their interest about the sport,” he expressed. “You have to get them to fall in love with wrestling.”
Payton mentions mat time as the best source of improvement.
Pike, age 64, retired as not only the wrestling coach but as a math teacher.
He began high school at Camp Lejeune and graduated from Quantico High in Virginia. Pike spent four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. After graduating from the University of Missouri, he earned a degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University.
Pike is married to the former Karen Measell of Virginia and they are the parents of a son and daughter.
Pike’s tenure with Beddingfield wrestling totals five years, including three as head coach.
He explains he was handicapped last season because of taking the position late.
“We took a bunch of people to states every year,” Pike assessed his time with the program. “We did fairly well; we had a successful program and had continuity.
“But Cisco has got some building to do. There are a couple of good wrestlers there, but he has got some work to do. The school is getting smaller and not having the population to draw from makes it challenging.”