Coach Millard: More than a coach


Annie Brown

Alec Perlshtein and Joshua Braverman stretch before a match.

Homestead wrestling might not be the most popular sport at Homestead, but according to the wrestlers, they have a pretty special coach.

Head Coach Ernie Millard has been coaching at Homestead since 1989. He coached baseball up until 2019, when he decided to put his full focus on the wrestling program.

He is known for not only helping kids on the mat, but off the mat as well according to Danny Leszczynski, senior.

“If it wasn’t for Coach Millard, I wouldn’t be the person I am today,” he said. “He is a great role model and wants the best for everybody.” Leszczynski has been wrestling all throughout his high school career and has loved every second of it.

According to his athletes, although Millard can mess around sometimes, he always wants what’s best for them.
“He has helped a ton of people out behind the scenes. Even though he is our coach, he is really good at making sure we are all doing our best outside of wrestling,” Leszczynski said.

In the last couple of years, Coach Millard has had the opportunity to coach his son, Charlie, who is a sophomore. Charlie placed fourth in the state championship last year, and this year has his eyes on first.

“It’s a dream come true., Coach Millard said when asked about coaching his son. “Charlie and I fortunately have a great relationship. Any day I get to spend with Charlie is going to be a good day.”

When asked if having his dad as his coach has contributed to some of his success, Charlie said, “Definitely a little bit, it is nice to have support outside the wrestling room at Homestead.”

Charlie trusts his dad coaching and does not mind having his own father coach. “I have had him as my coach for my whole life, so I am kind of used to it. He is a good coach; it would be different if he wasn’t.”

Charlie is not the only wrestler who has a unique relationship with Coach Millard.

Nick Hemr, senior wrestler, shared a story between himself and Coach that he will never forget.

“At a tournament, I was eating a sandwich. (Coach Millard) took my sandwich and took a big bite out of it and then kissed me right on the forehead,” he said. “He has a really good balance. He can be really tough sometimes, but he can also be really enjoyable.”

Coach Millard and his wrestlers made a lot of improvements this season, most importantly being their physical shape and fitness, according to Millard.

“Wrestling fitness is so different from any other kind of fitness. You can think you are the most in-shape guy in the world, and then a minute and a half into a wrestling match and you feel like you want to pass out,” he said.

Coach Millard hopes this can carry over to Regionals, which are Saturday, Feb. 12 at Nicolet. After that, they look forward to taking on the State Championships in three weeks.