Photo by Chad Koenen
Jason Rogers (left) and Scott Hart (right) talk to Hart’s son Nate Hart at the state wrestling tournament in 2018. Hart has retired as the head wrestling coach for Otter Tail Central after 30 years in the program. 

Longtime head coach calls it a career on the mat

By Chad Koenen


Scott Hart has never been a stranger to the wrestling room at Henning High School. A 1986 alum of Henning, Hart wrestled for the Henning-Deer Creek Cavaliers during his high school career. Fast forward four decades, and Hart is hanging up his whistle for the final time, as the longtime head coach of the Otter Tail Central wrestling team. 

“I am not going away, but I am just going to step back,” he said. “The other thing is I want to see other people get involved.”

Hart has served as the head coach at Otter Tail Central for the past 14 years and has been a coach in the wrestling program for a combined 30 years. After coaching all three of his sons through the wrestling program and guiding the team to its only state tournament berth in 2018, Hart officially retired as the head wrestling coach at the end of the season.

Scott Hart (right) is pictured with assistant coach Jason Rogers during a match in Battle Lake this year. 

It was a decision he had been thinking about for quite some time, as his youngest daughter Ally, is getting more involved in athletics as a sophomore at Henning High School. No longer spending every night of the week on the mat and most Saturday’s at a wrestling tournament, will give Hart time to follow Henning and OTC sports as a fan on the sidelines again.

This past season the Bulldogs finished 11-16 and had five wrestlers advance to the super section meet that was held at Long Prairie-Grey Eagle High School in March. Even though he may be retired, Hart said he is willing to help out and offer advice whenever he is called upon. 

After taking the program to new heights over his 30 years at OTC, Hart sees a bright future for the Bulldog wrestlers. He said the junior high wrestlers boast strong numbers and a lot of potential on the mat. 

Even more important than the wins and losses on the mat, which included a fifth place finish as a team at state in 2018 and a number of state champions through the years, Hart said his most memorable moments as a coach are the ones he made while watching athletes grow throughout their time in the program. 

“You coach because you love to coach the kids. Anyone can coach a superstar, but to take an average kid and make them a star, that’s amazing.”

Head Coach Scott Hart

And while some coaches dread the early Saturday morning tournaments in places like Bemidji or at the Big Bear Tournament up north, Hart said it is those tournaments he will miss the most. Hart said for some of his athletes those tournaments are the first times they get to spend a night at a hotel with a friend, see Paul Bunyan or even just get a mini vacation from home at a weekend tournament. Seeing the look and excitement on their faces was something he will never forget. 

In addition to wrestling, Hart has coached golf, baseball, JO volleyball, track and football over the years.