Roger Morgan’s biggest fear down the road is the Robin Drumm Classic losing its meaning.
As long as the Drumm family is in the area, he has nothing to worry about. Heath always has been in good hands with the wrestling program’s version of a first family.
Whether it is was beside the mat in a coaching chair or the hospitality room, Robin Drumm’s presence still was felt Saturday at the annual event.
“We want Robin’s legacy to live on,” said Paula Drumm, Robin’s widow. “He was one of the founders so to speak of Heath wrestling. Roger was the teacher, and that was the in. If you ask anybody, Robin was the one. We want to stay around, so they know who Robin Drumm is.”
Heath’s invitational has been held in Drumm’s memory since he tragically died five years ago this month. He was coaching his son, Travis, at a tournament in Coshocton when he suffered a heart attack.
Drumm helped Morgan and Jerome Hunt create the Heath varsity program in 2001. At the same time, Drumm coached the biddy and junior high programs, also coaching future four-time state placer Dom Barlow and three-time state qualifier Mason Robinson in addition to Travis, who joined his dad as a state qualifier two years ago.
“You always want to remember where you came from,” said Morgan, who has a moment of silence before the finals each year and renamed the Most Valuable Wrestler award after Robin.
“We can still point to some of things that Robin was good at and still drive that home. Even people that don’t know Robin, they can say, ‘Here is someone that did something great.’ I think all of us want to be remembered for something.”
Drumm’s daughter — Tiffany — and sister — Chyrel Dye — assist Paula in the hospitality room during the tournament.
Travis, who now attends Muskingum University, returns home on weekends to assist Morgan. On Saturday, he took his turn beside the mat, sitting in what was supposed to be his dad’s chair.
“Coaching is just a different perspective from being on the mat,” Travis said. “You can say it, but it doesn’t always click in someone’s head. When you are coaching, you see everything.
“I just try to explain what they did wrong. When you get a new kid, you have to explain the basics. You can talk in their ear for an hour, but it is probably not going to register if you don’t start with the basics.”
Travis often overpowered opponents with his brute strength, but he always remembered what his dad hammered into his head while growing up. Drumm never let any of his wrestlers take a shortcut.
It is a message Travis is passing on to the current Bulldogs.
“Once you get to those matches at state, that really comes into play — all of the little mechanics. You just have to keep doing and doing them.”
Paula Drumm could not be prouder of her son. A decade ago, Drumm — a mountain of a man — put Heath’s developing wrestling program on his shoulders.
Now, Travis is offering to carry a piece of the legacy.
“At the time when Robin passed away, everybody gave to Travis,” Paula said. “Now, this is Travis’ way of giving back.”