3x State Champ Dennis Kitko Appointed MHS Wrestling Coach


Matanzas High School has found its new head wrestling coach: Dennis Kitko was hired to take over the job starting in the 2024-25 school year, according to a statement released by Flagler Schools on Friday. Kitko brings decades of experience to the job, and a healthy resume of past success.

According to Flagler Schools' release, Kitko began his wrestling career 40 years ago at Brandon High School in Hillsborough County. There, as a preteen, he earned five national championships in freestyle wrestling, establishing himself as a top young talent in the sport. He left Brandon High School with a 96-1 record and three state championships.

Kitko would later go on to wrestle for Cornell University, becoming co-captain in his junior year of attendance. He was ranked third nationally, earning a spot in the NCAA National Tournament. When he transitioned from wrestling to coaching, Kitko spent time helming Tallahassee's Leon High School and Godby High School, and Valrico's Bloomingdale High School. He also coached the USA cadet national freestyle team, and served as a youth sports coordinator for MCAS Iwakuni Military Installation in Tokyo.

“Building upon the longstanding success and tradition of this program is a challenge I’m looking forward to,” Kitko said. “Success on the mats, in the classroom and in our community will be key to help us focus on the development of character and integrity among our boy’s and girl’s rosters.”

The confidence in Kitko's legacy of success in wrestling is shared both by the school district and by Jordan Butler, Matanzas High School's Athletic Director. "Coach Kitko's experience in building successful programs based on character and integrity, along with his focus on developing student leaders, will be essential in establishing Matanzas Wrestling as one of the most elite programs in the state," he said.

Kitko will take over from Mike Fries, the now-former MHS wrestling coach who submitted his resignation earlier in June. With him, the rest of the coaching staff also left their posts, leaving MHS in position to entirely rebuild its wrestling program.