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Viera wins top coaching honor

<p>Ed Viera accepts the runner-up trophy at the state tournament. (Photo by Kelly Brown)</p>

Ed Viera accepts the runner-up trophy at the state tournament. (Photo by Kelly Brown)

At times, Daniel Viera probably only wishes his dad could not talk to him this week.

But he is not that lucky. Although the Arkansas Activities Association’s dead period limits contact between coaches and athletes, it is not the same for fathers and sons.

“I am afraid he is stuck with me, but I am not supposed to even talk to any of our wrestlers,” Viera said, laughing out loud.

Viera, the wrestling coach at Maumelle High School, said he continues to do his best with his parenting duties, just like he does when coaching the Hornets’ wrestling team, which finished second in the state tournament in February. It’s unknown if he is in the running for any parent of the year awards, but he did receive the Coach of the Year award for the sport at the recent Arkansas High School Coaches Association all-star games in Fayetteville.

“The way I see it is an award for everyone. I was just the one who accepted it and had his name on it,” he said. “But this all about the coaches and kids who put in all the hard work. I plan on putting it in the trophy case at school, just like all the other ones.”

Initially, Viera was very surprised.

“Coach (Wayne) Herren told me, and I thought he was kidding,” he said. “I looked on the website and saw it was between the coach at Springdale Har-Ber, which won the state title, and me. I figured I had no chance of winning.”

Viera, a high school wrestler until his senior season when he moved to Florida, coached some on the prep level in Florida. When he moved to his area three years ago, he was a natural.

‘“My first team at Oak Grove all quit when it started getting tougher,” he said. “So I decided to recruit kids from my pre-AP classes. A lot of those kids are used to working hard, so I gave it a shot.”

Last year, with a team that was mostly freshmen, the team finished seventh in the state meet. This year they climbed to second with a team that had one senior, one junior, 10 sophomores and seven freshmen.

“We should be the team to beat if everyone comes back and works and makes their grades,” he said. “Little Rock Christian beat us, but I know they lost five or six kids, and we only lose the one senior.”

Like a lot of sports, Viera is helping keep his wrestlers focused on their speciality this summer.

“All of my kids are keeping busy,” said Viera, including his 16-year old son. “I am not giving him a vacation. He is working.”

He has taken them to camps in northwest Arkansas and this weekend several of the wrestlers will attend a clinic in West Little Rock.

“Since it is the last weekend of the dead period, I cannot stay at the academy with the wrestlers,” he said. “I will be dropping off Daniel and then going to pick him up.”

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