Top to bottom: Steve Fish, football; Tyson Skinner, wrestling; and Kevin Heckler, boys tennis.
Top to bottom: Steve Fish, football; Tyson Skinner, wrestling; and Kevin Heckler, boys tennis.
Madison Consolidated High School filled out its coaching staffs with the hiring of three head coaches at the Wednesday's School Board meeting.

Former Hanover College assistant coach Steve Fish was hired as the new football coach, former Cub Tyson Skinner was officially named the new wrestling coach and Kevin Heckler was hired to head the boys tennis program.

Steve Fish

Fish, who spent 17 years coaching the defensive line for former Madison Cub Wayne Perry at Hanover, was the biggest hire. He replaces Ted Leasor Jr. who resigned last month to take the assistant athletic director job at Shawnee High School in Louisville.

Although he had been coaching at Hanover, he has had a large stake in the Madison football program for years. His eldest son Jordan was a four-year starter for the Cubs and another son Ryan will be a junior this season.

The opportunity to coach his son for two years certainly appealed to Fish, but just the chance to get back into coaching was the biggest reason he applied for the job.

"It's going to be great to be around Ryan but really, I just want to coach," said Fish, who has not coached since Perry announced his retirement two years ago. "They have had sort of a revolving door here for the past few years and I don't plan on being a revolving door. I plan on coaching here as long as they will let me."

Fish will the fifth coach Madison has had in the past 11 years, following Al Wilcox, Larry Getts, Mike Dowell and Leasor. He got to watch Madison teams under Dowell and Leasor closely while following his sons and feel he already has an intimate knowledge of the team.

"I think one of the things that helps me is that I know a lot of the kids," Fish said. "I've been around most of them since they were in the fifth grade."

A graduate of Pillsbury College in Minnesota, Fish got his coaching start at his alma mater first as an assistant and then later as the head coach. After one year as a head coach at a high school in Maryland, he moved onto Hanover for the start of his 17-year career.

It was coaching under Terry Price at Pillsbury and Perry at Hanover that taught Fish how to be a leader. He said he plans on bringing that knowledge to his job at Madison.

"The coaching staff at Hanover was very professional. We all understood what our jobs were and coach Perry let us coach," said Fish, who will teach history and physical education at the school. "I want to bring that level of professionalism to Madison."

Fish is fully aware of Madison's struggles on the gridiron. The Cubs have won only 17 games over the past 10 seasons and have not had a winning season since 1992. Fish has a three-point plan to combat those problems, although he admits that it will take time.

"You have to get more kids in the program, build up the weight program and teach them the basics," Fish said. "On the first one, I want kids in the sixth and seventh grade to know that Steve Fish wants them to play football. On the second, I want to build on what coach Leasor was doing in the weight room and continue that program and you can't teach them the basics until we get the first two down. It's going to take some time, but we'll get there."

Fish plans on holding a meeting with all prospective players and coaches at the high school cafeteria today at 6 p.m.

Tyson Skinner

Skinner comes to Madison after a very successful 12-year run as head coach at Scottsburg High School where he helped build a Warrior program that was almost non-existent.

Now he enters a Madison program that was one of the state's elite before falling onto hard times. For Skinner, the situation isn't that much different.

"When you think about it, they are almost the same thing," said Skinner who replaces the departed Dustin Bentz. "When I started at Scottsburg, we had eight kids and we were able to build it up. Here, there is a lot of attention, we just need to get the numbers back."

Skinner was a standout wrestler at Madison for current athletic director Ken Brunner and the chance to come back at home was the prevailing reason why he took the job.

"It's a little bittersweet because I had a great time at Scottsburg and I'm going to miss them," Skinner said. "There are a lot of kids coming back and it's going to be weird that first time we line up against them."

Skinner's first priority will be to get the program's numbers back to their prior levels. There was a time when Madison would have as many as 30 wrestlers but this past season, the Cubs had trouble filling out several weight classes.

"I saw them a couple of times and they had five or six dynamite wrestlers, but only like 12 for an entire match," Skinner said. "We're going to have to get those numbers back up."

Kevin Heckler

Heckler will pull double duty at two different schools this year, serving as both the boys tennis coach at Madison and the girls tennis coach at Trimble County High School.

The boys tennis season in Indiana is in the fall while both tennis seasons in Kentucky occur in the spring. That will allow Heckler to hit both programs at the same time.

Needless to say, his involvement in two different programs speaks for the love he has for the game.

"I took up tennis just a few years ago and just fell in love with it," Heckler said. "I've been reading everything I can on it and can't wait to get started."

Heckler approaches the game from a mental standpoint and hopes to instill that type approach into his players.

"Everybody can hit the ball, but it's having the ability to understand the situation that makes the difference," Heckler said.