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LEGENDARY JIM BIRD, A CLASS ACT


Ray Icaza
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Jim Bird, the longtime AD & legendary wrestling coach at OHS is calling it a career at the school.  Bird, who spent nearly 30 years with the Kowboys stepped down on July 15th.  He has accepted a teaching/coaching position at Gulf Breeze High in Santa Rosa County in the Florida pandhandle and those folks are blessed to get a person of this caliber.  This move is strictly about family as he has children and grandchildren in Atlanta and Chattanooga which will allow he and his wife to be a lot closer to them.

Bird's accomplishments as both AD & wrestling coach are impressive.  He came to OHS in 1987 as an assistant FB coach and wrestling coach becoming the HC wrestling in 1996 where he would begin to build one of the best high school wrestling programs in the NATION.  A tradition of excellence is the OHS motto and Coach Bird is a prime example of that Tradition.  Starting with Alex Eggers winning the 140 lb. championship in 2007, Bird has produced at least one state champion for 16 consecutive years.  His teams have finished in the top 6 in the state in those same 16 years, including winning a state title in 2009 and finishing as runner-up in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2014.  In all 17 different Osceola wrestlers have claimed a total of 32 state championships - including Fox Baldwin who still holds the national records for career wins while being a four-time state champ.  Bird leaves the program on a high note.  Last year, 3 of his wrestlers (all underclassmen) won state championships including Cooper Haase, Gunner Holland and Anderson Heap.  Haase, a rising senior, will have a chance to match Baldwin as Osceola's only four-time state champion.  With 106 points score at the 4A State Tournament in March, the Kowboys finished third in the state.  This consistency of producing state champions became a Bird rally cry with the team ......"We're not superstitious and we talked about the streak all the time".  In the first team meeting every year, we write on the chalkboard ..... "Who Is Next?'

His organizational skills were recognized by the fact Osceola was selected as the host school for numerous district, regional and state championships.  Heritage Park has been the site of the state championship for most of the past decade, with OHS serving as host institution.  Created 5 years ago, every state dual meet championship has been hosted by the Kowboys.  In addition, the Christmas Knockout Classic - one of the largest and most prestigious holiday tournaments in the country was created and hosted by Bird and OHS.  Bird has gained the respect of the state and national wrestling community.  Vic Balmeceda, has coached South Dade to 17 state championships once said "Jim had never bent his morals or ethics to win a match and that is extremely hard to find these days."  

But building a wrestling program is just part of the legacy he will leave behind.  As AD, Bird has seen his basketball team win 2 state championships and reach another final four.  The OHS football program - long considered a state power - reached three state championships under Bird; while baseball, softball and other sports have claimed numerous district and regional titles.  As a long time friend, I can truly say he will be sorely missed and impossible to replace.  Here is to your future Jim and may God continue to ride alongside you and your great family.  

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There’s no way to replace a guy like Bird. That being said, I’ll be curious to see how his successor does. Tribit is a guy who has been around Osceola County for a while now. He’s walking into a hell of a good situation. 

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48 minutes ago, Coach said:

There’s no way to replace a guy like Bird. That being said, I’ll be curious to see how his successor does. Tribit is a guy who has been around Osceola County for a while now. He’s walking into a hell of a good situation. 

That he is so doesn't need to re-invent the wheel and just keep the train on the track.  

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Bird is a great guy. I also coach wrestling so I have had many interactions with him. A class act!  Tribit, having been under bird in the past and already a good AD in the county. This should be a easy transition. From what I could see Bird was already passing the torch to him as early as last season!

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2 hours ago, Beek said:

Bird is a great guy. I also coach wrestling so I have had many interactions with him. A class act!  Tribit, having been under bird in the past and already a good AD in the county. This should be a easy transition. From what I could see Bird was already passing the torch to him as early as last season!

Tribit has been around, just don't know him personally like I did Bird.  Hope he does a great job, just a realist knowing he has some big shoes to fill.  Time will tell.

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