GARFIELD, N.J.–The old adage "Do what you love and the money will follow" is certainly true for a Garfield wrestler.
Damion Logan, 38, fell in love with the sport at age six and managed to make it his livelihood.
Not that he's making Wall Street money, or even close. Not that it matters.
Logan isn't just any wrestler. This three-time state champion and four-time state finalist for St. Joseph Regional (Montvale) – well, he's considered one of the best of all time in New Jersey's history.
Logan's now running the wrestling program where he was once a standout, and also training up-and-comers at the wrestling school he launched in Pompton Lakes, where he now lives.
His Apex Wrestling School boasts three National Champions, All-Americans, 18 State Champions and more than 150 State Place Finalists.
Not unexpected for a wrestler of his caliber.
Records aside, Logan coached at University of Pennsylvania, West Point, and Stevens Institute of Technology, never missing a wrestling beat from his time leading the University of Michigan in wins and pins in the 1999-2000 season. There, he was a two-time NCAA Division I All-American and was the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the Big 10 Championships.
All this from a boy of humble beginnings.
He grew up in Garfield and first hit the mats at the Garfield Boys and Girls Club at a time when kids walked there and knew the term "latchkey kids."
"It's where I learned wrestling, and everything, really," he said. "My parents worked. We'd walk to the Boys and Girls Club and you did homework and played sports there until you got picked up."
He and his wife have three boys, ages 14 and younger. Though he lives 30 minutes from where he grew up, traveling to Garfield to see his 92-year-old grandmother is as important as anything else he does.
"When I had kids, it changed everything. Growing up in the Boys and Girls Club did that to me," he said. "I get complete satisfaction seeing success. I see the little milestones. Those little successes. It matters."
Logan said you get what you sow – a lesson he tries to impart to his students and children.
"If you don't put much in – into anything – you won't get the final thing you want," he added.
He's grateful for the opportunity to head the challenge at St. Joe's. Being grateful is the foundation on which Logan has built his life.
"I want to build something on my own and put stock in myself and I'll get more out of it as a person," he said. "They only won one match last year. ... I won't say it's going to be green grass. We'll have to reanalyze our approach. But you watch – it's going to be good.
"We're building a good group of battle-tested wrestlers from the ground up," he said.
"St. Joe's holds a place in my heart and I want to bring the sport back. When you put love into something you care about and you're real – winning will come."