PENDLETON — Trevor Hancock knows he has big shoes to fill as Pendleton High School’s next wrestling coach.

He replaces Fred Phillips, who stepped down after 18 years at the end of the season.

Phillips was one of just three coaches to lead the Bucks over the past 50 years. The other two were Rollin Schimmel and Dale Freeman.

“It’s neat to carry on that tradition,” Hancock said. “They are legends in Pendleton, and they have influenced me. It’s nice to be the next guy coming in.”

Hancock, 25, graduated from Pendleton in 2012, where he was a four-time state placer and wrestled for Phillips. He then went on to Southern Oregon University, where he wrestled and graduated in 2015.

He returned to his hometown, and was an assistant for Phillips for two seasons.

“It had always been a goal of mine to come back and coach,” Hancock said. “When Fred stepped down, we had a talk. When the job opened up, I applied.”

Phillips and others had Hancock in mind for years.

“I tried to push him in this direction when he went to college,” Phillips said. “Then I brought him on. We tried to help him grow in the position to take over the program.”

Hancock, who teaches fourth grade at McKay Elementary School, is familiar with the program and returning wrestlers, which he said will help the transition.

“I think it is helpful that I’m not too far removed from what they are going through now,” Hancock said. “Working out and keeping your grades up. You have to earn the respect of the kids, and a lot of them I have grown up around. A lot of them were in the kids program when I was in high school. It’s nice to see them grow up.”

Taking over a program steeped in history can be a bit daunting — Phillips leaves the wrestling room with a 336-71 record, and he never had a losing dual meet season — but Hancock said he is up for the challenge.

“There is pressure with any job,” he said. “I’ve been around the program a long time, and Rollin was a good friend of my grandpa (Scott Hancock).”

Phillips knows Hancock can handle the job.

“He’s a wrestler, that speaks for itself,” Philips said.

Hancock will have the Bucks on the mat this summer. They will go to a camp in early July in Illwaco, then host a Rollin Schimmel Foundation camp July 12-13 at the high school.

Hancock and his wife Lindsee have two sons, Finley, 5, and Huxton, who is 1 month old.

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