John Aiken steps down as Auburn wrestling head coach, replaced by Dennis Herren
August 10, 2011 · 5:57 PM
John Aiken has resigned his position as head wrestling coach at Auburn High School and will be replaced by Dennis Herren for the 2011-2012 season, according to Auburn Athletic Director Bob Jones.
In an email, Jones said Aiken resigned his position to accept an assistant principal position at Olympic Middle School.
"John did a wonderful job in his time as our coach and will be greatly missed," Jones said.
After taking over the Trojan program in 2006, Aiken led the team to a second-place finish at the Mat Classic state championship. In subsequent years, Aiken helped Auburn grab two third-place finishes, a fourth and a fifth at state. The Trojans were 11th at state last season.
Herren is no stranger to the Auburn wrestling scene.
In 1994, he won the state 178-pound title, helping the Trojans to capture the team title.
After graduating from Auburn, Herren went on to wrestle at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, where he was a two-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-American.
In 1999, Herren was the NAIA national champion at 174, the first American to win a national title for a Canadian university.
In 1999, Herren returned to Auburn, where he helped coach the Auburn Riverside wrestling team until 2003. In addition, he also coached abroad for Sports Scotland.
After finding out he had the Auburn job, Herren said he was "awed and excited."
"And there was an awareness of the amount of responsibility involved, which is tremendous," Herren said. "Auburn has a great legacy, and it'd be nice to help the school make another mark."
Already, Herren said the season looks promising with the possibility of a large turnout for the program.
"I think we have over 60 kids turning out," he said. "One of the things I always appreciated about Auburn, wrestling as a kid, was that you didn't have to be a state champ to get something out of it. One measure of success is being able to have big numbers of kids who draw different things from the program."
After his stint at Auburn Riverside, Herren temporarily left coaching to help care for his daughter, who was born three months premature.
Herren also owns a local business – American Ability – which helps veterans and people with disabilities find employment.
Herren is the son of Washington State Wrestling Hall of Fame coach and Auburn School District Superintendent Kip Herren, who was Auburn High School's head coach from 1979 to 1992.