Dustin Rock steps down as MHS Wrestling Coach after 10 yearsMar 23, 2023 10:07AM ● By Liisa London Mecham
Coach Dustin Rock celebrates his third consecutive 2nd Place State Trophy with his assistant coaches February 2023. Photo by Trudy Toone
After a decade of directing the helm of the MHS wrestling program, Coach Dustin Rock has decided to step down to spend more time with his young family and pursue a Master’s Degree. Rock made the unexpected announcement to his team at the end-of-season banquet.
“I felt like the time was right to step down,” he said. “I’ll still be teaching history at the high school, but it’s time to pursue other activities, and to have the time to be more involved in my kids’ activities.”
No one was more surprised than Rock’s wife, Kylee, who has been with him on his coaching journey since they were married in 2004.
“When I told her I was stepping down, I shocked her,” Rock said. “It was not something that she thought I would ever do. She has been so supportive, and it has been hard for her to see me stop doing something I love.”
Rock’s three children, Dean, age 12; James, age 9; and Von, age 5, have never known life when their dad wasn’t a wrestling coach.
“It will take some adjustment for the entire family to have me around more,” Rock said. “Coaching isn’t just a three month gig during the season. It’s a 12 month commitment. There is always something to be working on during the season and even more during the off season to build a great program.”
And Rock certainly understands the commitment it is to have a dad as a wrestling coach. From 1978-2003, Rock’s father, John, led the Trojan wrestling program. In 2004 after a year without a Rock coaching in the Morgan program, Dustin finished wrestling in college at Boise State and Wyoming, served a mission in Russia for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and returned to Mogran. He joined the Trojan wrestling staff as an assistant coach.
After finishing his degree at Weber State, Dustin started his first job at Clearfield High where he also became the wrestling coach in 2008. For five years, he led the Falcons before returning to Morgan in 2013 to teach and coach. In the 10 years that followed, Dustin’s numbers speak for themselves (Table 1). Rock grew the wrestling program in numbers, state qualifiers, placers and champions, placing in the top three as a team in the state seven of his ten years at Morgan. For the past three years, the Trojans have claimed runner up status to juggernaut Juab who has claimed seven consecutive state titles.
Five of Rock’s wrestlers have continued their careers after high school. Currently Owen Pentz (2017) and Chase Trussell (2018) are wrestling at Division I programs, and Will Korth (2022) is at Snow College. Pentz, who is at North Dakota State, just competed in the NCAA National Championships for the third time. Trussell wrestles for UVU and completed his redshirt junior season that culminated in the Big 12 championships. 2020 graduate Jarret Jorgensen wrestled for Embry-Riddle University, and 2022 graduate Blake Woolsey has committed to wrestle at the University of Providence when he returns from his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Having just competed in the NCAA tournament, Pentz took time Monday to share his gratitude for Rock. “Coach Rock becoming the high school wrestling coach was nothing short of a miracle and a much needed position to be filled. He brought immediate success to the team and certain individuals within the first few years. He helped me develop and perfect my skills on the wrestling mat and in my life as a young man. I owe a fair amount of my success as a college wrestler to him and can never thank him enough for his example and hard work.”
Rock is extremely proud of all of his wrestlers and the hard word and dedication that they give to the program and sport. He shared that his favorite aspect of coaching is not necessarily about the number of state champions, but the number of kids who come through the program and are able to look back and be grateful for the things they learned in the wrestling room that are helping them in life.
“Seeing the joy on a kid’s face when they’ve accomplished something great is one of the best parts of wrestling,” Rock detailed. “It may be getting their first pin or winning a championship, but they know that they’ve put in the hard work and dedication and they’ve earned it.”
“I don’t do motivational speeches well, but I hope that my athletes will always remember that the hard work and dedication that they learned in wrestling will carry them throughout their lives, not just on the mat,” Rock said. “I want them to remember that they can find success through hard work and dedication through whatever they choose to do.”
Chase Trussell is one of Rock’s former wrestlers who remembers and appreciates the lessons Rock imparted. “Coach Rock absolutely changed my life, not only inside the wrestling room but as a young man. The things he taught me and engraved into me will help me out for the rest of my life into becoming the best man I can be. I owe a lot to Coach Rock and everything he has done for me. I appreciate him and thank him for it all.”
Jeremy Belinski, a parent of three boys, McKay (2017), Spencer (2020) and Joseph (2026) whom Rock coached, is grateful for Rock’s life lessons that he taught his sons. “Coach Rock would alway say, ‘Find a way!’ from the side of the mat. That seems odd, but often times there was no move or fundamental approach to getting out of the situation. That phrase is simple, but causes one’s mind to not panic and stay in the fight. Long after high school, my son Spencer would get in a tough situation and in his mind he could hear Coach Rock yell, ‘Find a way!’ Powerful.”
Throughout all of his years, Rock appreciated the support of his family, the community, school administration, assistant coaches and the wrestlers’ parents. He loved having his dad, John, work alongside him as an assistant coach. “It’s been a privilege to coach at Morgan High. The community and parent support has been outstanding. I’ve had a lot of different assistant coaches. People have been very willing to step up and help out with the wrestling program.”
“I decided that I wanted to coach wrestling the year after I graduated in 2000 and was wrestling at Boise State. I was helping my dad at Morgan, and realized that I really enjoyed helping other people reach their goals,” Rock explained.
And he has done just that. For the past 10 years, Rock has been successful at helping Morgan High wrestlers and the wrestling program reach their goals. Former wrestler Jarret Jorgensen, who returned as an assistant coach this season, summed up Rock’s tenure well. “It was an honor to be part of Coach Rock’s legacy at Morgan High School. My relationship with him, not only as a coach, but as his nephew, is much stronger because of his willingness to not only push me to be a better wrestler, but to be a better person. I could not thank him enough for the effects he has had on my life.”
Coach Dustin Rock’s Numbers 2013-2023
Wrestlers on Team