Eastern athletic director Phil Smart said Thursday that he hopes to have a new head wrestling coach by Oct. 20, date of the next school board meeting.

The search is more difficult than usual because no teaching position will be offered with the coaching job, Smart said.

The Eastern Camden County Regional School District in June sent letters to more than a dozen teachers, including then-wrestling coach Wayne Murschell, terminating their teaching positions because of budget cuts.

"The job was posted in June," Smart said. "I told Wayne at the end of the school year that I would post it because I wasn't sure that he would come back and hopefully he'd find a job" in the area, so he could continue coaching at Eastern.

Murschell, who headed the Vikings' wrestling program for about a year, resigned on Aug. 26, the day he learned that he was approved to teach at Franklin Middle School in Somerset County.

"I'm also the middle school wrestling coach," Murschell said. "I was fortunate to get the interview and the job in this economy."

Smart said that the job was posted internally and with a local newspaper and that he started interviewing candidates last week.

"I'm looking for the strongest candidate regarding the ability to motivate student athletes in and out of the classroom and with regard to technical knowledge [of wrestling] that they can transfer," Smart said.

Contact staff writer Bill Iezzi at 856-779-3826 or biezzi@phillynews.com.