Father. School resource officer. Assistant wrestling coach.
All these terms describe Shawn Hallett.
Hallett, who started as St. Joseph-Ogden High School’s school resource officer in August, is also an assistant wrestling coach with the Spartans.
Hallett said he had wanted to be an SRO for a long time. Early in his career, Hallett applied to be the SRO at Unity. He didn’t get that job, but undeterred, he applied for a part-time SRO job at Carrie Busey Elementary School in Savoy.
“I liked the experience there so when I found out that Officer Maxey would not return to SJO, there was no hesitation and I applied for the position,” Hallett said.
During his time as SRO, Hallett also became involved with the wrestling program as a volunteer coach.
“During the interview process of becoming an SRO, I had expressed interest in getting involved as a coach in some capacity,” he said. “I thought it would be good for the kids to see me out of uniform and interact on a different level. I then thought about what sport I’d like to help with and soon came to realize that wrestling might be a good fit. So, I talked to the coach (Richard Vetter) and he agreed to it.”
Wrestling is a sport that is often thought of on an individual basis, and the young men that compete for the Spartans have several volunteer assistant coaches to guide them along the way in practice, as well as meets. Hallett is an integral part of that process.
“I have enjoyed seeing the boys improve from day one, and I try to be encouraging to them not only at practice but at meets as well,” he said. “I wrestled with the heavyweight boys during practice and even conditioned with them, noting my age on several occasions. I told them that if I could run the stair laps, then they could too. It’s all about motivating them and having them do their best and pushing them beyond their limits to make them a better wrestler, person and all-around athlete.”
Hallett has seen marked improvement from the beginning of the season and knows that the boys in the program are well-conditioned as a result of their hard work.
“Again, wrestling is a sport where you must have self-discipline, self-motivation and mental toughness,” he said.
Hallett said he knows the practices are challenging because they drill, then drill some more.
“You must be in good physical condition to compete for six minutes on the mat during a match,” he said. “Wrestling can be very rewarding, and you often see that come out in other sports as well, which is why a lot of football players also wrestle and can learn some moves on the gridiron from their time on the mat.”
Hallett said he intends to work with the wrestling program as long as he is at SJO.
Two St. Joseph-Ogden wrestlers, Isaiah Immke (145 pounds) and A. J. Wagner (113 pounds) are competing at the IHSA State Wrestling Championships this weekend at State Farm Center in Champaign.