Fries won two state titles as a wrestler at Flagler Palm Coast High School.
Growing up, Mike Fries and his two older brothers used to practice wrestling in the basement of their Long Island home. It was where Fries, who started wrestling at the age of 5, learned his first moves and honed his skills.
It was the birthplace of arguably the most dominant wrestler in Flagler or Volusia County history.
From 1996 to 1999, Fries starred as a wrestler at Flagler Palm Coast High School under head coach Steve DeAugustino. He finished second in the state tournament his first two years, before win-ning back-to-back titles to close out his high school career. Fries is one of only two FPC wrestlers to win multiple state titles.
“Wrestling,” Fries said, “it’s been my whole life.”
Fries recently entered the next chapter of his wrestling career, as he was named the head coach of Seabreeze High School’s wrestling program.
“This is what I live for,” he said. “This is a dream becoming a reality.”
However, the 38-year-old Fries was initially interested in the vacant position at his alma mater, FPC. He submitted an application and interviewed with his old coach.
He ultimately withdrew his application in favor of starting fresh at Seabreeze.
The Sandcrabs have never won a championship — conference, district, regional or state — and have never had an individual state champion.
“Coach DeAugustino has built a great program over there, but it will always be his,” Fries said. “Here, it’s an open book. It’s a blank canvas.”
Fries has also served as the head coach of Seabreeze’s girls flag football team the past two years, leading the Sandcrabs to a district title in spring 2018. He will continue to coach the flag football team, as well.
The goals for the 2018 wrestling season are to learn nine moves, be tough, be in shape and to have five to six kids advance to the state tournament.
Fries said he envisions Seabreeze being the top team in Volusia County in about three years and one of the top teams in the state in about five years.
The Sandcrabs’ first match is on Dec. 8.
“It’s going to be a shock to everyone when we start winning stuff,” Fries said.