The greatest high school wrestling coach in Tennessee history was honored by the Allan Jones Foundation this week for an epic winning streak that will likely never be beaten.
From 1994-2010, the Bradley Central High School wrestling team under coach Steve Logsdon posted a Home Dual meet record of 128-0. During that remarkable streak, the Bears captured 12 State Duals titles and 10 Traditional State titles. The Foundation honored that accomplishment on Tuesday with a special plaque posted at Jim Smiddy Arena in Logsdon’s honor.
“Coach Logsdon had four undefeated seasons and seven seasons with only one loss,” said businessman Allan Jones. “We are proud to recognize this legendary coach who knows how to win consistently year after and teach young athletes how to go from good to great. He is the best there has ever been. You can’t argue with 128 wins and zero losses.”
Jones insisted such long-term domination might never be seen again. He said Logsdon’s dominance was the sole reason he and Heath Eslinger came up with the famous “Six year plan” in 2006 that was designed to help Cleveland defeat their crosstown rivals by the year 2012.
“Logsdon’s teams beat Cleveland for 19 years in a row,” said Jones. “After the six year plan we were eventually able to beat Bradley but it took us five years.”
As head coach at Bradley Central from 1992 to 2004 and then again from 2007 to 2011 (18 seasons), Logsdon’s teams celebrated 20 team state championships. During the course of his entire coaching career, his record was 382 wins and 26 losses.
At the ceremony unveiling the plaque, Logsdon said it was important to remember that he took a two-year hiatus in 2005 and 2006. During that time, coach Chad Laxton kept the streak alive and captured two team state titles. When contacted for this story, Laxton called Logsdon “the total package.”
“Coach Logsdon had the ‘it factor’ that made kids want to perform for him,” Laxton explained. “His philosophy was about character, intensity, and pride. It was such a fun environment to be a part of.”
Regarding the winning streak, Laxton insisted Logsdon never sought to “cherry pick” easy opponents.
“There were state duals in that Bradley gym, some very tough matches, so nobody should ever think Steve was trying to arrange things to keep the streak alive,” said Laxton. “It was a situation where all comers were welcome.”
Logsdon offered thanks to the Jones Foundation for the plaque honoring the streak – and for continuous support and encouragement through the years.
"The Jones family has been a friend to Bradley wrestling for a very long time and this beautiful plaque was Allan’s idea,” Logsdon said. “I personally appreciate his gift, as do the hundreds of Bradley wrestlers, coaches and supporters who were a part of the Streak."
Upon hearing of the plaque honoring Logsdon, the man who broke the streak in 2010 as the coach of Soddy-Daisy High School’s wrestling team offered praise to the Bradley legend.
“The Bradley/Soddy-Daisy matches were epic but the ones I remember most were the ones we lost,” said former Trojans coach Steve Henry. “When we were able to beat a Bradley team it meant something. We coached hard and worked hard to beat them, so it was a situation where everyone either got better or got beat — that’s the bottom line. Our rivalry became a huge respect deal for both teams.”
Henry – who also served as a Team Tennessee coach with Logsdon for five years - said one of his favorite stories about Logsdon was when the Soddy-Daisy athletes were heading home after losing to Bradley in the State Duals.
“My wife saw a shirt that one of the Bradley parents was wearing that listed all the years Bradley had won,” Henry recalled. “She told me – you could get a shirt like that listing all the years Soddy-Daisy finished second to Logsdon. It was funny that I couldn’t even get a break in my own home when it came to that Bradley/Soddy rivalry. The school had great wrestling, great kids, great coaches and great tradition.”
Logsdon said many of his life’s greatest memories came at Bradley Central, including when he became the school’s first state champion in 1984. Upon graduation he attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga but then returned to Bradley to assist then-wrestling coach Turner Jackson before taking the head-coaching role in 1992.
"Just being around those wrestlers, coaching staff and the whole Bradley wrestling family created some of my best, most thrilling memories,” Logsdon said. “So many goals set, and so many dreams achieved, and I had the honor of being right there in the middle of it to share in those celebrations. I'll carry those memories and relationships with me forever. Thank you to Allan Jones, and thank you to Bradley County Schools for allowing me to be a part of this great tradition and where, for 30 years, I've literally enjoyed coming to work every day."
Logsdon is currently the head coach of the Bradley Pride Youth Wrestling Club where he continues helping youth athletes become champions. Al Morris, wrestling coach at Walker Valley High School, said he was glad Logsdon was still coaching. Morris ran the Bradley kids club for 20 years, starting in the late ‘80s, and has been credited with helping to build the school’s legendary wrestling program.
“Both of my sons wrestled under coach Logsdon at Bradley and he was the best teacher of technique that I have ever seen,” said Morris. “One of the secrets to his success is his driving passion for the sport of wrestling that has a positive effect on everyone around him. The results speak for themselves.”
When reflecting on his current role as the Bradley Pride coach, Logsdon noted that the Jones Foundation had agreed to match annually what is raised for the club up to a certain level.
Bradley Pride is a wrestling program that gives young wrestlers of all skill levels, grades K-8, a chance to learn the essentials of practice and competition. The goal of the program is to train and maintain the highest-quality athletes to help continue the finest wrestling program in Tennessee.
“Youth wrestling clubs are important because the wrestlers develop a love for the sport and build a strong work ethic that will carry them through life,” Logsdon said. “We strive to teach young athletes the importance of moral character and good sportsmanship. Winning starts at this level.”
Jones agreed with Logsdon and noted that he was mat-side in 1984 when Logsdon became Bradley’s first state champion. He was also present when Soddy-Daisy ended the streak in 2010.
“It was sad to see the winning streak end and was certainly not something I was expecting,” recalled Jones. “It is an honor for me to be a part of this recognition for Coach Logsdon, who is Tennessee greatest wrestling coach. Our Foundation looks forward to partnering with him for a long time as the coach of Bradley Pride.”