Ridge hires Deputy as new coach

Josh Deputy has been an assistant wrestling coach for 17 years, including 11 years at his alma mater, Bedford, and the last six years under Greg Lazor at Chestnut Ridge.

Now he’s taking over a Chestnut Ridge program that Lazor turned into a state power.

The 36-year-old Deputy, a 2000 Bedford graduate, was hired as the Lions’ wrestling coach at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

“I was excited,” Deputy said when he heard he got hired. “Obviously taking over for Greg is big shoes to fill, but it’s something that as a staff we’ve all kind of talked about. I was prepared and ready for it. Everyone on the staff is coming back, so not much is going to change for us.”

Lazor, who stepped down after the state tournament to spend more time with family and be the softball head coach, took the Ridge wrestling program to new heights.

He went 203-48 in 11 years, coached state champions Justin McCoy (2017) and Jared McGill (2019), was named District 5 Coach of the Year the last eight years, the Mirror’s Coach of the Year six times and the PIAA Class 2A Coach of the Year in 2013.

The Lions have won eight straight District 5 Duals titles, seven straight District 5 individual tournaments and finished third at the PIAA Duals the last two years.

Deputy will ultimately be compared to Lazor.

“I expect it,” Deputy said. “It kind of comes with the territory, with being a part of a successful program. I embrace the challenge. Obviously Greg is irreplaceable. He’s one of a kind. He had confidence in me, and he’s kind of the one who wanted me to take the reins from him. That made me feel good.”

“I’m excited,” Lazor said. “He is extremely knowledgeable about the sport and has a great relationship with the boys. I believe he can take this program to even higher heights.”

Deputy, who is the golf pro at Bedford Elks Country Club, is married to Chanda, and they have three children: 12-year-old Dominic, 9-year-old Cooper and 5-year-old Coen. Both Dominic and Cooper are two-time Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling state placewinners.

Deputy is the uncle of Aaron Burkett and Kai Burkett. Justin McCoy and Jared McGill spent a lot of time at his house, where he has a wrestling mat, and McGill gave credit to Deputy after he won his state title.

While McGill will graduate, state placewinners Kai Burkett and Nathan Holderbaum return. State qualifier Duane Knisely also returns, as do many promising young starters.

Deputy will also have all of the Ridge assistant coaches back in Pat Berzonski, Scott McGill, Brian Gibbons, Tyler Dibert and Dan Albright.

What is he looking forward to the most in his first season as head coach?

“Just keeping up with the success,” he said. “We have great community support, administrative support. Success is just something that I grew up in being a part of the Bedford program. I’ve learned from a lot of great coaches for a long time. I look forward to bringing these young kids up from junior high and teaching them our way at Chestnut Ridge.”