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Old 05-23-18, 09:22 AM
mailman112 mailman112 is offline
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Coach Urbas to retire

Legendary St. Edward Head Wrestling Coach Greg Urbas announced today that he will be retiring. Urbas' longtime assistant, John Heffernan '84, has been named head coach.

In his 29 years as the head wrestling coach at St. Edward, Urbas has been one of the most decorated and most successful scholastic coaches in the United States, regardless of sport. Under his leadership, St. Edward teams won 4 national championships, 24 state championships, 25 district championships and 29 sectional championships. He has coached 76 individual state champions. Urbas has also put his stamp on an unprecedented and unmatched streak of St. Edward High School producing at least one NCAA All-American wrestler in each of the past 35 years.

"Greg Urbas is a man of incredible character, integrity and wisdom," said Jim Kubacki, St. Edward President. "He is the model for generations of students for living a life rooted in faith, genuine relationships, and a commitment to service. It is a privilege to have Coach Urbas as a colleague. He is a true servant leader. The excellence he has achieved speaks for itself."

Urbas, who has taught mathematics at St. Edward for the entirety of his career, will continue to serve the wrestling program in a support capacity. He will also continue to serve students at the school daily in his retirement as a math tutor.

Urbas will be succeeded by his longtime assistant John Heffernan. Heffernan is a 1984 graduate of St. Edward High School, where he won an individual wrestling state championship his senior year. He was a two-time All American wrestler at the University of Iowa. He has been an assistant coach at St. Edward since 1991 and was recently named the 2017-2018 Scholastic Assistant Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

"John is the heart and soul of St. Ed's Wrestling," said Urbas. "As head coach, he will ensure that our student-athletes continue to compete at the highest levels and represent the best of St. Edward High School."
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Old 05-23-18, 09:41 AM
white_chocolate white_chocolate is offline
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Congrats to a legend! I'll tell you what, dealing with him as an opponent at the high school level as an opposing coach, and also recruiting as a D3 college coach, you will not meet a more genuine, humble, and respectful coach.

Brennan Ryan
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Old 05-23-18, 10:14 AM
dman dman is offline
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One of the most class acts in the sport !
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Old 05-23-18, 10:19 AM
Ikejfk112 Ikejfk112 is offline
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Class act. Great nice humble guy, he will be missed.
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Old 05-23-18, 10:24 AM
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EagleFan EagleFan is offline
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EagleFan will become famous soon enoughEagleFan will become famous soon enough
End of an era. St. Edward was blessed with him many years ago.
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Old 05-23-18, 01:50 PM
EaglePride01 EaglePride01 is offline
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Incredible human being and model ambassador for the St. Edward community. Enjoy your retirement coach.
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Old 05-23-18, 02:14 PM
BobPreusse BobPreusse is offline
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a unique man, an ex-Marine and proud of it. Saved the mighty St Edward program from decline after the sudden death of Howard Ferguson in 1989. Thats when i really got to know him well.

He embodied the best in the coaching profession. i recall once long ago i was telling Greg about a tough situation in another high school involving at-risk kids. Greg paused for a moment then said to me, "IF COACHES DON'T DO IT, WHO WILL?" .....i never forgot those words.
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Old 05-23-18, 09:02 PM
Sid's Dad Sid's Dad is offline
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He has always been very nice and humble.
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Old 05-25-18, 10:20 PM
wrestling_fan_ wrestling_fan_ is offline
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Coach Urbas was a great person to come in contact with & be able to take some lessons from as well. He was very hospitable for USA Wrestling over the years as well & helped many wrestlers get opportunities to move on to Fargo.

Save a space in the Hall of Fame!
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Old 06-12-18, 02:04 PM
mailman112 mailman112 is offline
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Another great article on Coach.

“The report of my death was an exaggeration.” — Mark Twain.

Don’t be surprised if Greg Urbas, the longtime head coach of Ohio power St. Edward High School, drops the Mark Twain line to his well-wishers.

“The way some of it has been reported, I keep checking my pulse,” Urbas cracked. “Not much is changing.”

Urbas has stepped down after 29 years as the head coach of the Eagles. He explained the move only involves job titles.

John Heffernan, the longtime assistant to Urbas, is moving into the head coaching role for the storied high school program in suburban Cleveland. Urbas will be an assistant on Heffernan’s staff.

"John's been the head coach for years anyway (without the title),” Urbas said. “I’ve told people that. His knowledge, technique and experience are unbelievable. He knows what it takes. (He's) the heart and soul of St. Edward wrestling.”

"To even get near (humility), even for a moment, is like a drink of cold water to a man in the desert." — C.S. Lewis.

If humility is cold water, Greg Urbas is Lake Erie in January.

“It’s not me being humble,” Urbas said, referencing Heffernan as the "real head coach" during their tenure together. "It's me being honest."

St. Ed’s, of course, has been state and national high school wrestling royalty for decades. Its legacy includes 317 state placers, 108 individual state champions, and 35 team state titles.

For St. Ed’s graduates, gaudy numbers don’t end the last time they don the Green and Gold. The Eagles are prolific in churning out wrestlers who soar in college, too.

Program graduates have won NAIA national titles (Duke McKean in 1992 and 1993 for Olivet Nazarene), five have won NCAA national championships (Jim Heffernan in 1986 at Iowa, Greg Wright in 1986 for Edinboro, Alan Fried in 1994 for Oklahoma State, Ryan Bertin in 2003 and 2005 for Michigan and Dean Heil in 2016 and 2017 for Oklahoma State).

St. Edward’s alumni list includes 67 wrestlers who became All-Americans. Two-time state champion Andy Hrovat made the 2008 U.S. Olympic freestyle team. More recently, Ty Walz won a bronze medal last year at the U23 World Championships.

For 28 consecutive years, St. Ed’s has had at least one former Eagle earn Division I All-America honors at the NCAA Championships. For 37 consecutive years, an Eagle earned All-America status in the NCAA (D1, D2 or D3) or NAIA. No other program boasts such annual collegiate dominance.

Greg Urbas has been there at St. Ed’s for the past 29 years.

Asked what aspect of coaching has been most gratifying and how the Eagles have remained so elite during his tenure, Urbas responded: “There are too many aspects. Just watching the development of each wrestler, on and off the mat, (that’s) what makes me proud of the student athletes we are privileged to coach.”

Regarding their yearly habit of excellence, Urbas, again, speaks of others.

“Our current staff has 13 coaches,” he said, adding that many are volunteers. “Eleven wrestled in college, and 11 are alumni. This has kept our system going. John Heffernan is the heart and soul of St. Ed’s wrestling. He's given our wrestlers his experience, knowledge, toughness, and example of what a wrestler should be like, on and off the mat.”

Urbas spoke poignantly of the pioneering and visionary qualities of Howard Ferguson, the famed St. Ed’s head coach he succeeded after Ferguson’s death in 1989. He spoke of traveling to Wexford, Pennsylvania — while Ferguson was still coach — where St. Ed’s would wrestle powerhouse North Allegheny, coached by Gus DeAugustino.

The match was sold out inside a raucous gymnasium. With St. Ed’s leading by five, the dual hinged on the heavyweights. The Eagles sent Matt Ramser, a senior and stellar football player, to the mat. He wasn’t the team’s best heavyweight.

“He hadn’t wrestled his junior year,” Urbas said. “Matt wanted to wrestle his senior year, (but) we already had three heavyweights better than Matt. He just wanted to be on the team. He wanted to help the other heavyweights.”

The three other heavyweights were all sidelined that night with injuries. Urbas remembers coach Ferguson talking to Ramser before the decisive match.

If the backup to the backup’s backup didn’t get pinned, St. Ed’s would win.

“Coach Ferguson reminded Matt of that fact,” Urbas said.

Ramser told Ferguson he wouldn’t get pinned. In fact, he promised his coach a win.

And he delivered, sealing the then-mythical national title for St. Ed’s.

“About a week later,” Urbas said, “Matt went to the doctor for an evaluation of a physical condition that had arisen.”

The high school senior was diagnosed with cancer. Matt Ramser died a year later

With the litany of blue-chip wrestlers he could have provided, Urbas spoke of Ramser as representative of why coaching was rewarding for him. For Greg Urbas, Matt Ramser was a distilled example of why coaching matters.

"Never above anything or anyone," said Jeff Gaier, the longtime head coach at Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller High School, when asked about Urbas. "We were at an important quad with Ed's years back. I think Blair (Academy) was there, too. There was a JV tournament in another gym. Before a quad meet like that, as host, you're busy running around. I peeked into the JV tournament, and I see coach Urbas, sitting by himself, doing the scoreboard and the clock. That's exactly how he was."

Heil, a four-time state champion and 2013 St. Ed’s grad, speaks reverently of Urbas.

“There was never a second he put himself first,” Heil said. “He wanted to make sure that by the time you left St. Edward’s, you were a standout — not in wins and losses, but on the type of person you were, on and off the mat.”

Heil promises on his next return home, he’s treating his high school coach.

“Malley’s Chocolates,” Heil laughed. “They’ll be on me.”

Despite reports of retirement and departure, Greg Urbas isn’t going anywhere. Routines and expectations of excellence will continue. Coaching titles have switched. That’s all.

To Urbas, John Heffernan will be addressed appropriately now. To Greg Urbas, titles aren't important.

His teams have won him a boatload of the other kind, anyway.
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Old 06-12-18, 02:12 PM
Suplexer130 Suplexer130 is offline
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I remember being at Ed's for Fargo camp one year and seeing him cleaning the wrestling room and getting the mops ready for the next session, including doing the laundry of the towels if I remember correctly, and I was in awe. Here was the head coach of one of the biggest programs in the country doing house keeping. I remember he looked at one of the guys, who was a pretty big name, and told him to grab a mop. The kid seemed perplexed by the idea he'd have to mop as I'm sure like in most places at his school the studs got a pass on mopping. Urbas just looked at him and told him no one is above doing their fair share.

It has always been something I have thought about through wrestling and into coaching. He is truly an awesome guy that would do anything for anyone, even kids from all over the state he didn't even know.
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Old 06-13-18, 01:23 AM
Iroquois Iroquois is offline
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What an amazing coach !
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