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Wrestling Coach of the Year
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Steve Powell
Easton Area High School Easton, Pennsylvania  

Hold an election to determine the nation's best area for high school wrestling, and its certain that Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley will get plenty of votes.  Need proof?  Just give Easton High wrestling Coach Steve Powell a call.  His answering machine tells the story: School's started, wrestling season is just around the corner".  Many teams have carried the banner for the Valley over the years. The last two years, it's been Easton's turn.  The strength of Easton wrestling is nothing new.  After all, the school has crowned at least one district champion every year since the District 11 tournament was initiated in 1948. But the national strength of Easton wrestling is outstanding individuals and one of the nation's toughest schedules has taken the Rovers to back-to-back Class AAA state team championships, earning top 5 finishes in the national rankings for the past two years.  "You can't back off," Powell said.  "You always have to be focused on looking for ways to improve.  We have a tough schedule, but even if we didn't travel, our schedule would be great.  When you look at the number of outstanding teams within a half hour's drive of each other, each week there are some of the nations best team competing against each other. And he has to do it with the heaviest teaching load he's ever had on his shoulders in his 22 years of teaching." 

A Health and physical Education teacher, Powell is in the classroom seven out of the day's eight periods, with more than 30 students in each class.   "As a coach, I do the same thing in a rebuilding situation that I did last year," he said.  "You gear your practices to your best kid.  Our kids know what they have to do to compete at the next level.  You're not going to be at the top three or four in the nation every year in a public school.  But our kids have great learning attitudes."

Powell was born in the Valley, but his father, who was in the US Navy, was transferred to the Philadelphia Navy Yards.  There Steve attended high school and college, graduating from Henderson High School and later from West Chester State College.  He has been back in the Valley ever since.  It isn't hard to see why. 

How big is wrestling in the Valley?  It's more than the best media coverage in the nation, where most major dual meets take place in front of cable television cameras and radio microphones, as well as plenty of print media. It's more than the overflow crowds which often result in closed-circuit television feeds to auditoriums or cafeterias when the gymnasium is full.  

"It's the ultimate family sport.  Wrestling is ingrained in families here," Powell said."This is a blue-collar community and there's a strong work ethic.  People live their entire lives in this area, and they grow up loyal to their team.  People here have a lot of pride in high school athletics.  You take the average wrestler on my team and chances are his brother, father, uncles, and all his buddies wrestled.  And after he gets out of school, his sons will wrestle years from now.  It just gets passed from generation to generation."  

The pride also extends to the community.  When Easton had a parade last summer to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Easton Fire Department, the wrestling team rode the fire truck that led the parade. What else would you expect from the Valley?    


Jeff Buxton
Blair Academy Blairstown, New Jersey

Although his impact on Blair's success and his place in the history of Blair's rich 84 year-old tradition of wrestling are definitive, Buxton is better known around campus as a complete educator. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, Buxton teaches three upper level math courses and is also an academic monitor for the postgraduate class. He has made it a hallmark of his coaching to emphasize not only excellence on the mat but in the classroom and the community as well. Currently, there are approximately 40 former Blair wrestlers who are competing in college. Even though Blair's high school team has recently experienced several successes at the highest level, winning has never been at the center of Coach Buxton's teaching. Instead, he does everything he can to maximize the efforts of each individual as well as the opportunities available to each of his student-athletes; winning is simply a result of those efforts. 

Motivated by a true love of wrestling and kids, Buxton puts countless hours into his work outside of the "regular" wrestling season. In the spring and summer, he works several camps and clinics in New Jersey as well as around the country. Another spring-time habit of his is to take van loads of wrestlers (both from Blair and other local athletes) around the northeast to compete in post season tournaments. Whether he is talking on the phone to parents or college coaches for hours at a time (it is widely believed that this is truly how he acquired cauliflower ear) or giving a student one-on-one instruction, Jeff Buxton does whatever he can to help the kids and the sport that he loves.

Buxton's first head coaching job was at Chariho High School in Rhode Island where his teams compiled a 24-5 record over two years. In 1982, he came to Blair Academy as a math teacher, assistant wrestling coach to Bob Latessa and head lacrosse coach. In 1984, Buxton was named the first co-head coach in Blair wrestling's history. He took over sole responsibility as the head coach in 1991 when Latessa moved on to become the assistant coach at Lehigh University. Since being named co-head coach 19 years ago, Buxton has led Blair to as many National Prep team championships, and coached 61 individual National Prep Champions to a total of 79 individual titles.

Although he has maintained and expanded the opportunities for the college program that has long been established as a trademark of Blair wrestling, he has also broadened the scope of the high school team. The skill level of the athletes on the high school team this past year ranged from novice wrestlers to Prep National champions, and the success of the team has grown on all levels. Again, it is Buxton's emphasis on opportunities for students within the sport that has made it possible to see to the needs of such a wide range of athletes. 

Raised in Satellite Beach, Florida and later Hope, Rhode Island in a family of 6 brothers and 3 sisters, Buxton was an outstanding three-sport athlete at Providence Country Day School where he earned a total of 13 varsity letters in football, wrestling, and lacrosse. In 1975, he was a National Prep Champion in wrestling and was named the Rhode Island Athlete of the Year, capping four undefeated seasons as a wrestler. Recently, Buxton was recognized for his high school athletic achievements as he was inducted into Providence Country Day School's Athletic Hall of Fame. Following high school, he matriculated to the University of Rhode Island on a full wrestling scholarship where he was a qualifier for the NCAA tournament on a team that was regularly in the top twenty of the country (Rhode Island has since dropped wrestling). Known for an unconventional and tenacious style, Buxton continued competing after college and was the Outstanding Wrestler in the 1980 Northeastern Regional Olympic Trials (he did not compete in the final trials).  Jeff Buxton is married to his wife Carol. They have two children; a son, Tony, and a daughter, Siena.    


Benny Coleman
Choctaw High School Choctaw, Oklahoma

There aren't many schools competing, but life on the wrestling mat may not be more competitive anywhere in the nation than in Oklahoma's Class 5A.  Oklahoma's biggest enrollment division in wrestling includes less than 30 schools, but there are few easy marks among them.  Broken Arrow, Midwest City, Del City, Muskogee, Lawton.  The list goes on and on.  Next year, traditional Class 4A powerhouse Tulsa East Central moves up to 5A to join them. 

And then there's Choctaw.  Choctaw wasn't always one of the state's powerhouses.  The traditional strength of the class lay in those other schools.  Since Benny Coleman arrived, things at Choctaw have changed.  Maybe it was the desire to bring the school that he attended into the state's wrestling elite.  In any case, a lot of things came together, and quickly.

Choctaw won double Class 5A state team titles, both in the dual and the individual state tournaments in 1994 and 1997.  Having guided his from the pack into Oklahoma's wrestling elite; Coleman says he's just trying to survive in an extremely competitive atmosphere.  "The coaches here are all very competitive," Coleman said "There's a lot of pride, and everybody is trying to do what's best for their program.  It keeps everybody on their toes and motivated to succeed at a high level.  Many of the coaches are involved year round.  We have a lot of tradition here in Oklahoma, but we don't have a real population, so that's one way our kids can stay at such a high level."



Wayne Branstetter

Poway High School Poway, California

Wayne's teams have been among California's best, year after year. Despite the loss of a state place winner to a late season injury, Poway finished a strong third place in a state tournament this year and posted a #17 final national ranking, its third in seven years.  


Scot Davis
Owatonna High School Owatonna, Minnesota

Scot's Owatonna team won its first Class AAA dual state title this year, posting a 41-1 overall record and a final # 8 national ranking. He has led Owatonna to the state dual tournament three consecutive years.   Don Rohn Northampton High School Northampton, Pennsylvania Rohn was named Coach of the Year for leading the Konkrete Kids to their fourth Class AAA state title of the 1990 's. The unofficial national champions in 1993, Northampton finished this season with the # 5 national ranking.  


Greg Urbas
Saint Edward High School Lakewood, Ohio

Urbas had big shoes to fill when he replaced the legendary coach Howard Ferguson as coach of the top wrestling program in Ohio and one of the best in the nation. Known for his tireless efforts to advance all of the wrestlers on to college, Urbas let St. Edward's to its second straight Division I state title and, with a 17-0 record, a second unofficial national championship in seven years. 



Lewie Benitz
Lincoln High School Wisconsin Rapid, Wisconsin

Benitz led Lincoln High to its fifth consecutive Division I dual title, only the second team in Wisconsin to ever accomplish that feat and the first since 1954. Since he became head coach in 1965, Benitz has coached Winsincon Rapids to 10 state team titles, more than any other school, and his 464-77-2 record makes him the state's all-time winningest coach. He also coached his 20th individual state champion this season.  


Keith Healy
Providence Catholic High School New Lennox, Illinois

Healy led Providence to its third consecutive AA dual title, only the third team in Illinois history ever to accomplish that feat. A two-time NCAA qualifier at the University of Illinois, Healy has a 168-29-1 dual meet record and has led Providence to top three state finishes in six of his last seven seasons as head coach. He also has coached 17 individual state place winners and 4 champions.


Tim Marzuola
Highlands Park High School Dallas, Texas 

Marzuola's Highland Park team set high standards in wrestling's first year as a state association-sanctioned sport in Texas, winning the state dual and individual championships. His teams have gone 64-0 over the past two seasons in winning back to back dual titles, including 33-0 this season by an average winning margin of 66 points, a national record.  

Dick Rhoades
Bald Eagle Area High School Wingate, Pennsylvania

Rhoades capped a storybook season by leading Bald Eagle area to the state's first AAA Dual State Title - winning 53-0 in the final, and their first ever individual state title over six other nationally ranked teams. Rhoades also was voted Class AAA Coach of the Year in Pennsylvania this season and is a 6 time District 6 Coach of the Year.



Russ Cozart
Brandon High School Brandon, Florida

Under Russ Cozart's leadership, Brandon High has become one of the top programs in the Southeast. He just completed his 20th year as Brandon's head coach, and he has led Brandon to six state team titles during the decade of the 1990s. Brandon won the state's Class 6A crown in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, and 1998, never finishing lower than fifth during the decade. This year's team finished second in the Class 2A state tournament. But the statistic that really defines Brandon is "The Streak." Cozart is unbeaten in dual meets at Brandon, winning all 252 that his teams have competed in, including a 12-0 mark this year. In fact, the school has not lost a dual meet since 1973, and has won 335 consecutive dual meets in the 27 years since then, a national record for any school in any sport. Cozart's best team, in 1991-92, won its 21 dual meets that year by an average of more than 62 points, a national record at the time. Cozart has established a record as a competitor that is nearly equal to his record as a coach. He has won five gold medals in the Masters World Freestyle Championships at 136.5 pounds.  


Scott Legacy
Mount Anthony Union High School Bennington, Vermont

Now in his 15th year coaching at his alma mater, Scott Legacy has maintained Mount Anthony Union's place as the top wrestling program in New England.  Legacy has led Mount Anthony to 12 consecutive state team titles, and under his leadership, Mount Anthony was one of just four schools nationwide to win its state tournament every year during the decade of the 1990s. During the decade, his teams also won three New England championships, in 1993, 1997, and 1999, while finishing second in 1994 and 1996. This year's team is favored to earn a fourth New England title. He has had two nationally ranked teams, and this year's team also occupies a spot in the NHSCA's Top 50 team ranking. This year, Legacy's Mount Anthony team finished 21-1-1 in dual meets, giving him a career dual meet record of 249-24-2. His teams regularly travel throughout the East and the Northeast in search of the best competition possible. Individually, he has coached 56 state champions and 8 New England champions, and 21 of his wrestlers have earned All-America status through their success in various competitions and selections.  


Herb Stinson
Aztec High School Aztec, New Mexico

Coaching in a small school has its rewards, and long-time Aztec High coach Herb Stinson has had his share of them. In his 22nd and final season as Aztec's head wrestling coach (he was on the staff for 26 years), Stinson won his 11th consecutive Class A-3A state title and the 12th of his career. He is one of only four coaches to win his state's championship every year during the decade of the 1990s. Aztec also finished 25-1 in dual meets this year, giving him a final career record of 445-45-4. Stinson accomplished all this as a three-sport coach with three-sport athletes. He serves as defensive coordinator for a football team which has reached the state playoffs 10 consecutive years, and also coaches baseball. Stinson has been recognized on several occasions for his coaching excellence. He has been awarded National High School Coach of the Year honors in 1991 and 1995, and was elected to the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Hall of Honor in 1998. His teams are listed six times in the national record book, and hold two national records: His 1993 team won its 21 dual meets by an average of more than 63 points, and his teams have won 122 tournament titles, including eight this year.



Dave Crowell 
Wilson High School Easton, Pennsylvania

In nine seasons as Wilson High School's head coach, Dave Crowell has elevated the Warriors to one of Pennsylvania's AA powers on a year to year basis. This year, Wilson Area enjoyed of the best seasons ever. The Warriors piled up a 19-1-1 record in dual meets, winning the Class AA dual state title and finishing fourth in the individual state tournament. Early in the season, Wilson Area took on two of the Lehigh Valley's Class AAA powers, scoring a big 37-19 victory over Nazareth before cross-town rival Easton High handed them their only loss this season, a 29-21 defeat. Crowell was the head coach at Easton High prior to coming to Wilson Area. The 19-1-1 record was the second best in school history. Crowell's career record at Wilson Area stands at 135-39-1. Earlier this year, he became the all time leader in victories among the 9 head coaches in Wilson history. His .775 winning percentage also is a school record. Under Crowell, Wilson Area has also won 4 conference titles, 3 District 11 titles, and 4 Southeast Region titles. Two of his wrestlers have won individual state titles.


Jeff Jordan
Clarksville High School Clarksville, Tennessee

Jeff Jordan completed his eighth season as head coach at Clarksville High School this year. In 2000, he coached the Wildcats to the state's Division I dual and individual team titles, a feat never previously accomplished by a school outside the Nashville or greater Chattanooga areas, and finished second in the state duals and third in the state individual tournament this year. Prior to coaching at Clarksville, Jordan coached for 8 years at Franklin High, serving as the school's head coach from 1984-1989. His 1989 Franklin team won the individual state championship, at that time becoming the first public school outside the Chattanooga to win a state title, and was the state dual runner up. His Franklin teams were 78-11-1, for an overall record of 284-41-1. Jordan is one of only two coaches in Tennessee history to coach two different teams to state titles. He also coached 7 individual state champions and one NHSCA Senior All American.  Jordan accomplished this success with four-year wrestlers who never wrestled prior to high school. He is stepping down as Clarksville head coach this year to devote more time his family and his livestock farm.



David East
Bakersfield High School Bakersfield, California

After leading Bakersfield High to four top-10 finishes in the single-class California state tournament over the previous seven seasons, David East watched his Drillers rewrite the California record books this year. A month ago, Bakersfield scored 226.5 points in the state tournament, winning the state title by 125 points. Nine Bakersfield wrestlers finished in the top six, seven advanced to the finals, and four were crowned champions. All are California state records. Bakersfield was ranked No. 5 in the nation this season. In addition, one of East's four state champions, 125-pounder Darrell Vasquez, became the first four-time state champion in the history of California high school wrestling. East is retiring from coaching this year after 27 years, 24 as a head coach. A graduate of Bakersfield High and Cal-State Bakersfield, where he was a member of the school's first Division II national championship team, he was head coach for five years at Maricopa High and four years at West Bakersfield High before coming to Bakersfield High. After three years as an assistant to Steve Varner, East became head coach in 1988 and led the Drillers to 14 consecutive league titles. In addition to this year's state title, his teams finished second in the state in 2001 and third in 1995. He coached at least one state placewinner in each of his final nine seasons, and overall he coached 31 state placewinners and seven state champions. His teams were undefeated in dual meets his final two seasons, and his career record was 204-12.  


Jim Jackson
Apple Valley High School Apple Valley, Minnesota 

Jim Jackson is only the second head coach in the 26-year history of Apple Valley High's fabulously successful wrestling program. Jackson has been part of the Eagles' coaching staff for 22 of those 26 years. After 10 years as an assistant, he became co-head coach of the Eagles in 1991, serving alongside his mentor, Bill Demaray, who started the program when the school opened in 1976 and coached it to six big-class Minnesota dual state titles. Jackson was part of three of those teams as a co-head coach, in 1991, 1994, and 1995. When Demaray stepped down after the 1995 season after 20 years at the helm, Jackson became the head coach and has maintained the Eagles' position at the top of Minnesota high school wrestling. Jackson has coached Apple Valley to the past four Class AAA dual state titles and five state titles overall in his seven years as head coach, with his other two teams finishing second and third in the state. This year's team finished 39-0 in dual meets, going out of state to record dual meet victories over national powerhouses Iowa City and Lewis Central of Iowa, Broken Arrow and El Reno of Oklahoma, and Platte County of Missouri, and was ranked among the nation's top three teams for the second time in three years. His overall dual-meet record is 226-9-3, including a current 60-match winning streak over the past two seasons. Jackson's wrestlers also have excelled in the individual state tournament. In seven years, he has coached 46 state placewinners and 16 state champions. He also was selected National Coach of the Year by Wrestling USA magazine in 2001.



Jeff Jordan 
St. Paris Graham High School St. Paris, Ohio

"Jeff Jordan has built a program at St. Paris Graham that competes with the best in the nation year after year," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to honor Coach Jordan as the National High School Wrestling Coach of the Year." Jordan coached the Graham Falcons to a third straight Division 2 Ohio State Tournament championship, this time by a margin of more than 100 points. Graham also won the state's dual meet title in Division 2. Nationally, Jordan's squad was ranked among the elite in the nation from season's start to finish, and placed third at the prestigious Beast of the East Tournament and second in the Walsh Iron Man Invitational. Jordan, who won four individual Ohio state championships of his own while wrestling for Graham in the early 1980's, has turned his alma mater into one of the nation's most respected programs.



Terry Daubert
Northampton High School Northampton, Pennsylvania

In wrestling, Terry Daubert's Northampton, Pennsylvania grapplers repeated as the Keystone State AAA state champions and qualified a record 11 team members to the state finals. The team finished with three individual state champions and 10 total medalists, while Daubert's high school coaching record improved to 78-8. As an NHSCA national coach honoree, Daubert exemplifies the manner in which a dedicated coach can succeed at any level, as his junior high squads held a 117-7 record prior to his moving onto the prep level.



Roy Hall
Davison High School Davison, Michigan

Hall has built his alma mater, Davison High, into not only a state, but a national power. This year, the Cardinals won their fourth consecutive Division I dual-team state title and fifth in the past six years. His last three teams have finished in W.I.N. Magazine's top 15 nationally, and three of his wrestlers, Paul Donahoe and brothers Chase and Brent Metcalf, have been voted Asics All-America First Team members. A two-time state champion himself, Hall was a Junior National Greco-Roman champion, seventh in the Junior World Championships, and a four-time NCAA qualifier at Michigan State University. In the past six years, he has coached 13 Division I state champions and 41 placewinners.



Mike Polz
Carl Sandburg High School Orland Park, Illinois

Polz recently completed his 18th season as a head coach, and his 14th at Carl Sandburg. This season, he led the Eagles to a 33-0 record and their second consecutive Class AA dual-team state championship. In the individual state tournament, Polz coached three state champions and five Eagles advanced to the finals, a Class AA record. Carl Sandburg currently boasts a 51-match winning streak over two seasons, and Polz's last four teams have a combined record of 103-3 and have been unbeaten in the regular season against Illinois opponents. Polz also coached at New Lenox Providence High for four seasons, leading the Celtics to the 1989 Class AA title and a runner-up finish in 1990. His career dual-meet record is 400-45, and he has coached 13 individual state champions and 45 placewinners.



Jerry Winterton
Cary High School Cary, North Carolina

Since taking over the reins at Cary in 1982, Winterton's teams have rewritten the state record books. Cary has won 16 Class 4A dual and individual state team titles, and Winterton has coached 40 individual state champions. In 1997, 2005 and 2007, Cary swept the dual and individual state titles, and this year's team finished the season ranked No. 25 nationally by W.I.N. magazine. Winterton has coached his teams to more tournament titles - 146 - than any other coach in American high school wrestling history. His teams have posted 24 unbeaten regular seasons, and his overall record is 517-15 at Cary and 539-33 in his career. Winterton was elected to the Cary High School Hall of Fame in 1995 and the North Carolina wing of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma in 2004.



Bill Jacoutot
Spencerport High School Spencerport, New York

In his 26th season at Spencerport, Jacoutot's Rangers dominated New York State wrestling as few teams have in recent years. Spencerport finished the season 18-0, advanced five wrestlers to the Division 1 state tournament, and crowned two state champions. Spencerport also finished the season ranked 10th by W.I.N. magazine, the highest national ranking in the school's history. Jacoutot's career record is 335-28-1, and his teams own a 40-match winning streak dating back to January 2006. He has led Spencerport to nine unbeaten seasons, and none of his last 22 teams lost more than two dual meets in a season. Six of his teams - five in this decade - finished the season No. 1 in the New York State Sportswriters Association rankings. He has coached 31 state placewinners and 11 state champions.



Jeff Sweigard
Central Dauphin High School Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Sweigard coached 11 years in the Susquehanna Township school district, earning District 3 Coach of the Year honors in 1989. He has been Central Dauphin's head coach the past 15 seasons. His teams have won 10 Mid-Penn Conference titles, seven District 3 titles and eight sectional titles. Central Dauphin won state titles in AAA, perhaps the nation's toughest wrestling class, the past three seasons. The Rams took the individual team championship in 2007, then doubled up by winning both dual and individual state team titles in 2008 and 2009. Sweigard has coached 58 sectional champions, 22 district champions, 55 state qualifiers, 39 state placewinners and six state champions. A five-time District 3 Coach of the Year, including each of the past three seasons, Sweigard also was selected as the Pennsylvania Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2009 and also was named National High School Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association this season.



Barry Chooljian
Timberlane Regional High School Plaistow, New Hampshire

Chooljian recently completed his 23rd year at the helm of the Timberlane program. With a record of 385-40-5 as of January 4, 2010, he will pass the 400-victory mark early next season. This year, the Owls finished 23-1 – the lone loss to powerhouse Blairstown Township (N.J.) Blair Academy – and finished 10th in the prestigious Beast of the East tournament. The Owls won their 11th consecutive Division 1 state championship, setting a state record with 314 points. Timberlane has taken the Division 1 crown 17 of the past 18 years, and the Owls followed that by winning the Meet of Champions all-class state meet for the seventh straight year, and the 14th time in the past 16 seasons. Timberlane also has set the standard in the New England Championships. In 2009, by winning their seventh New England team title, Timberlane became New England’s all-time winningest program, and this season the Owls extended that record with their eighth title. Timberlane has won three straight New England titles, five in the past six seasons and seven titles this decade, and 15 Owls wrestlers have won New England crowns under his direction. Five Timberlane wrestlers have earned NHSCA All-America honors, led by 2002 Senior Nationals champion Matt Smith. The National Federation of State High School Associations followed the NHSCA’s lead by naming Chooljian its National Wrestling Coach of the Year this year.



Cliff Ramos
Collins Hill High School, Suwanee, Georgia

Ramos, 57, retired last season after a hugely successful run at the helm of the Collins Hill program, the fourth school he coached in a 34-year coaching career, 29 in Georgia. His overall dual-meet record was 626-80. Ramos guided Collins Hill to nine state team titles in Georgia’s biggest class, 5A – five individual state tournament titles and four dual state titles – and his Eagles teams finished in the top three for 11 consecutive seasons. A co-founder and past president of the Georgia Wrestling Coaches Association, he is a 22-time Region Coach of the Year and was selected the state’s Coach of the Year five times – in 2002, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010. His teams were nationally ranked five times in a six-year span. His best team, in 2010, not only reached the top 10, but beat two nationally-ranked teams, including host Easton High, and came within three points of shocking 31-time National Prep champions Blairstown Township (N.J.) Blair Academy in the NHSCA Final Four of High School Wrestling. Ramos, who coached 34 individual state champions, was selected Coach of the Year, Georgia Chapter, by the National Wrestling Coaches Association in 2002 and is a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Georgia Chapter. He currently serves as Director of Wrestling at Greater Atlanta Christian School, located in Norcross.



Pat Simpson
Father Ryan High School, Nashville, Tennessee

A 1974 Father Ryan graduate, Simpson was a state runner-up as a senior,helping lead the Irish to a team state title. He returned to Father Ryan as head coach for the 1979-80 season, elevating an already-established sport to state powerhouse status. In his 33 years on the bench, Simpson has led Father Ryan to 15 state team titles – seven dual titles and eight individual titles – and coached 59 individual state champions. The Irish picked up their 15th title this year in the Division 2 individual state meet.The school now owns almost as many state team titles in wrestling (19) as in all other sports combined (21). Simpson’s teams were Division 2 double champions in 1998 and 2000. His teams also won a Small Division dual title in 1989, a Large Division dual title in 1996 and Division 2 titles in1999, 2004 and 2010, along with open individual titles in 1987 and1988 and Division 2 crowns in 2003, 2008 and 2009. The long-time assistant football coach teaches wellness and social science, and also recently became the school’s athletic director. A 1979 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) with a M.Ed. from Tennessee State University, Simpson was the Western Region champion and an NCAA qualifier in 1979. A member of the Tennessee chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Simpson and his brother, Frank, the head coach at rival Montgomery Bell Academy, were part of the inaugural Hall of Fame class of the MTSU Wrestling Foundation earlier this year.



Steve Tirapelle
Clovis High School, Clovis, California

Steve Tirapelle led Clovis High to its third straight California state wrestling championship during the 2012-13 season, plus a lofty national ranking. Tirapelle has spent 30 years as a head high school wrestling coach, the last 16 being at Clovis High where he’s led the school to 11 state titles. During his illustrious career as a head coach, Tirapelle has coached 80 state medalists and 19 state champions.



Dave Dean
Lowell High School, Lowell, Michigan

In nine years, Dave Dean built Lowell into a state and national wrestling power that produced numerous state champs and student-athletes that have been awarded Division I scholarships.  Dean, who resigned after the 2013-14 season to become the head of the Olympic Development Program at Cornell University, led the Red Arrows to the Michigan state team championship this past season and a #16 national ranking.  The team title was Lowell’s second, with the first coming in 2009.  Lowell finished runner-up in 2007, 2012 and 2013.  Coach Dean produced 12 individual state champs and 46 state placewinners.  In addition to excellence on the mat, Dean’s teams were named academic all-state every year since 2007.



Mike Powell
Oak Park-River Forest High School, Oak Park, Illinois

Mike Powell’s program numbers speak for themselves – two Illinois dual team state championships, four state team championships at the individual state tournament, 10 individual state champions and 31 individual all-state wrestlers.  Powell, who won a 1994 state title as a student-athlete at Oak Park River Forest in 1994, also amassed an overall coaching record of 213-44. Powell was an NCAA for the Indiana Hoosier while in college. 



Scott Green
Wyoming Seminary, Kingston, Pennsylvania
Since taking over at Wyoming Seminary (Kingston, PA) in 2010, Scott Green has turned the Blue Knights into one of the top programs in the nation. This season, SEM began the year ranked #2 in the nation in the USA TODAY/NHSCA Super 25 preseason national wrestling rankings.  However, after winning the prestigious Walsh Ironman at Walsh Jesuit High School in Ohio in early December, the Blue Knights moved to #1 in our national rankings, a spot they’ve held through early December. Wyoming Seminary won it’s first-ever Ironman by 25 points over preseason #1 Blair Academy (Blairstown, NJ).


Mike Palazzo
Lake Highland Prep - Orlando, Florida

Palazzo has brought Lake Highland Prep to the top of the rankings since he took over the program in 2009. LHP was ranked fourth in the nation for the majority of the 2016-2017 season. Lake Highland became just the third school in state history to win five state titles in six years, joining Brandon and South Dade. This year, LHP set a new team record with points at the Florida State tournament with 298.5 points and a total of eight individual champions. They have wins over top ranked Bethlehem Catholic, Malvern Prep before dropping to #1 Blair Academy.


















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