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Wrestling coaches of the year: Deputy, Dubler share success, practice tactics

Glendale coach Billy Dubler says he’s not too proud to admit that he steals coaching and practice methods from other successful programs.

So, when he heard last year that Chestnut Ridge wrestlers yell the name of the team they want to beat in a dual meet or finish ahead of at a tournament while they’re running sprints, Dubler jumped at the chance to use it with his team.

“I was like ‘Man, that’s a great idea.’ You’re not thinking about how bad you feel. Psychologically, you’re thinking about the other team you want to beat, and you’re screaming their name,” Dubler said. “It kind of takes your mind off of the pain and everything.

“I fell in love with that drill, so I copied it. I’ve got a ton of respect for Coach (Josh) Deputy and Coach (Greg) Lazor. I’ve learned a lot from those guys.”

Deputy, a Bedford graduate who just completed his first year as head coach at Ridge after being an assistant for Lazor, enjoys sharing what his program is doing.

“It’s always what is best for the sport,” Deputy said. “The one thing I have learned is you need to be open with everybody and just try to build the sport up. You’re only as good as the teams you’re competing against. We ask questions of (Reynolds coach) Casey Taylor. I get a lot of information from Casey.”

The information and techniques both coaches have learned has garnered Deputy and Dubler the Altoona Mirror Co-Coach of the Year award for the 2019-2020 season. It’s the first time area coaches have shared the award since Claysburg-Kimmel’s Chris Harr and Tussey Mountain’s Jan Clark were honored in 1987.

Dubler is the Mirror’s Coach of the Year for the first time in his six years as the head coach at his alma mater. Actually, it’s the first time a Glendale coach has earned the honor. Dubler also became the first Glendale coach to be named the District 6 Class 2A Coach of the Year.

“It means a lot,” Dubler said. “I’m really grateful because there are a lot of good coaches in this area and a lot of good teams. To get Coach of the Year is quite an honor.”

Deputy continues a run of Chestnut Ridge being honored by the Mirror. Lazor was named the top coach six of the last eight years.

“It means a lot to our whole staff,” Deputy said. “Our whole coaching staff does so much. It’s not really about me. It’s about all of us. We all had to do our part. That’s how Greg looked at it, and it works for us.”

The Lions remained a statewide force under Deputy, going 18-2, winning their eighth straight District 5 Duals title and finishing third at the PIAA Duals for the third straight year.

After they won their ninth straight individual District 5 Tournament title with six champions and two runners-up, the Lions earned their third Southwest Regional title by 36 points, 141-105, over St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy.

“It was big,” Deputy said of the regional title. “I’m not going to lie. We coached pretty hard for the regional tournament. Most people thought we didn’t wrestle well at districts, and I take a little blame for that because I wanted to change it up and make sure we were peaking at regionals. Then the regional tournament came around, and the boys wrestled phenomenal.”

Ridge freshman Calan Bollman (106) and senior Duane Knisely (220) won regional titles. Bollman went on to finished second at the PIAA Championships, and four Lions earned state medals.

“He created a lot of excitement,” Deputy said of Bollman. “With us losing Jared (McGill) and Justin (McCoy), he stepped in and put a wow factor back in the program.”

The Vikings, who finished second behind Ridge in the Mirror rankings, went 16-2, claimed the District 6 title for the first time, took fourth in the regional standings and junior Brock McMillen (132) won his second state title. McMillen has been named the Mirror’s Co-Wrestler of the Year for the second time.

Senior Cory Johnston finished seventh for his second state medal at 220.

“It was a great year,” Dubler said. “We’ve always had a goal of being district champions as a team, and to fulfill that was really, really special. When the guys finally put it together, and they do what you always believed they could do, is really special. I just can’t wait to get everybody together, hand out the medals and get a team picture.

“One of the disappointing things is, with everything that’s going on, we really didn’t get closure to our season. Normally at the end of the year with our banquet, we get to have some closure with our season and send our seniors off the right way. We didn’t get to do that yet. Hopefully when we get this coronavirus put behind us in a couple months, we can do that.”

Dubler credits his high school coach, Blair Packer, for being a big influence on his coaching style. Does Dubler take credit for the team’s success?

“I’m a good planner, but I can’t take credit for any of the success,” Dubler said. “It’s shared success. You can’t win district championships without a lot of good help. I think I’m a good communicator as far as telling them what the plan is for the practice, what the plan is for the week and what the plan is for the season. But it’s up to each wrestler to put in that hard work.”

“Billy has created a very good program at Glendale,” Deputy said. “It doesn’t go unnoticed that they keep climbing up the ranks. Congratulations to him. He’s worked very hard to get their numbers up and get some top-level kids.”

McMillen returns next season, as does Dubler’s sons, Zeke and Suds, but Dubler will have to fill the shoes of four graduated seniors. Three of the seniors — Tristan Rutter, Seth Dudurich and Johnston — reached the 100-win plateau this season.

“You don’t replace a group like that at a small school like Glendale,” Dubler said. “It’s not like we can just re-load every year. We just don’t have the numbers to do that. Those four guys helped change the culture at Glendale with wrestling. They were winners. I feel like I owe them a lot.”

Deputy, meanwhile, will have 11 starters returning, including Bollman and two-time state placewinner Kai Burkett.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” Deputy said. “The boys are so coachable. They keep in contact with me. It’s just a family atmosphere, and I know they’re going to fight for me. They know I’m in it for them.”

Past coaches

of the year

Year Name School

2019-20 Josh Deputy Chestnut Ridge

Billy Dubler Glendale

2018-19 Greg Lazor Chestnut Ridge

2017-18 Greg Lazor Chestnut Ridge

2016-17 Greg Lazor Chestnut Ridge

2015-16 Jon Mykut Huntingdon

2014-15 Greg Lazor Chestnut Ridge

2013-14 Jon Mykut Huntingdon

2012-13 Greg Lazor Chestnut Ridge

2011-12 Greg Lazor Chestnut Ridge

2010-11 Brian Creps Bedford

2009-10 Brian Creps Bedford

2008-09 Brian Creps Bedford

2007-08 Brian Creps Bedford

2006-07 Brian Creps Bedford

2005-06 Jim Clark Chestnut Ridge

2004-05 Blair Packer Tyrone

2003-04 Blair Packer Tyrone

2002-03 Jan Clark Northern Bedford

2001-02 Doug Fogel Penn Cambria

2000-01 Dave Caslow Philipsburg-Osc.

1999-00 Dave Marko Claysburg-Kimmel

1998-99 Dave Marko Claysburg-Kimmel

1997-98 Bill Creps Bedford

1996-97 Bill Creps Bedford

1995-96 Jan Clark Central

1994-95 Bill Creps Bedford

1993-94 Dave Caslow Philipsburg-Osc.

1992-93 Tom Vaux Central Cambria

1991-92 Fred Wilson Huntingdon

1990-91 Harry Murphy Cambria Heights

1989-90 Harry Murphy Cambria Heights

1988-89 Randy Bussard Central

1987-88 Jan Clark Tussey Mountain

1986-87 Chris Harr Claysburg-Kimmel

Jan Clark Tussey Mountain

1985-86 Doug Brumbaugh Everett

1984-85 Tony Yaniello Tyrone

1983-84 Jan Clark Tussey Mountain

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