By Ryan Kaczmarski
Athletic director Robert Coxon has the task of doing something that has not needed to be done since Ronald Reagan was in the White House – find a new head varsity wrestling coach for Olmsted Falls High School.
After 27 years, Ohio Wrestling Hall of Fame coach Bill McGrain has resigned from minding the mats for the Bulldogs. Wanting to spend more time with his family and take a step back from the program as head coach, McGrain stated that it is time for another person to begin a new era of Olmsted Falls wrestling.
“I feel very blessed, fortunate and proud to have served as the head wrestling coach at Olmsted Falls High School for 27 years,” he said. “I am in good health and I still love the sport, but felt for many reasons it was time for me to step aside.
“The support I have had from my wife Tracey (who was selected as the National Head Coaches Wife of the Year in 1996) has enabled me to be a head coach for 30 years,” McGrain added. “This position also allowed me to coach my two sons, Zach and Chaz, here at Olmsted Falls.”
Among his many coaching accolades, McGrain compiled a dual meet record of 335-58-3 over his 27 years for the Bulldogs. He coached 76 individual state qualifiers, 45 state place-winners, 12 top-10 team state finishes and seven individual state champions, and is one of only three coaches in Ohio history to coach a state champion in all three divisions.
“I have enjoyed the challenge of trying to make Olmsted Falls wrestling one of the top programs in the state,” he said. “I have had many great assistant coaches, families and administrators to work with throughout the years. I have also had many hard-working athletes here, many who have gone on to become very productive adults, which, of course, makes me extremely proud.”
Another notable accomplishment during McGrain’s tenure was having the pleasure of coaching Ryan Smith, the only two-time state champion in school history.
“I am most proud of former wrestlers who have went on to become productive citizens,” he added. “I am also proud of how some of my guys have used wrestling to help them get through rough times in their lives.”
He said that he will not have a say in who replaces him, but hinted that he has many qualified assistants.
“I am very proud to say that all of my assistants are former wrestlers of mine who are now professionals teaching in the (Olmsted Falls) school system,” he said. “(The hiring) is up to our administrators.”
McGrain had many influences in his coaching style during his career.
“The two people who had the biggest influence on me are Ron Masanek (the current and longtime coach at Fairfield High School in Cincinnati) – I learned a lot from him, and I still learn from him – and my college coach at Ashland University, Mark Osgood.”
McGrain has the respect of the top administrators in the Olmsted Falls school system, and they know that OFHS wrestling would not be where it is without his coaching and influence.
“Coach McGrain has truly personified the Bulldogs tradition of excellence during his exceptional career here at Olmsted Falls,” said Olmsted Falls schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Hoadley. “He has long been held in high regard by players, parents, colleagues and members of the Greater Olmsted community.
“I want to personally thank Bill for all that he has done for our student athletes and the wrestling program,” Dr. Hoadley added. “Throughout his coaching career, Bill has impacted hundreds of young men in such a positive way, and his influence will be felt long into the future.”
“Bill had a tremendously successful coaching career at Olmsted Falls High School,” said Olmsted Falls High School Principal Dr. Bob Hill. “For the past 27 years, his knowledge and passion for wrestling have contributed to his many successes, and the successes of his athletes. Bill helped mold successful athletes through an unwavering work ethic and by surrounding himself with quality coaches, many whom wrestled for him at OFHS.
“Sending athletes to the state competition 24 of his 27 years as head coach defines the success he infused into our wrestling program,” Dr. Hill added. “We will miss Bill and certainly wish him well.”
McGrain hopes to remain involved with the program in some capacity.
“I plan on being a productive and positive person to our school system, wrestling program and athletic department,” he said. “The future is bright for the Olmsted Falls wrestling program. There are many accomplished athletes returning next year, and I hope to find a way to be a continuing part of their success.”
After nearly three decades of running the Bulldogs program, he is not ready to become a mere spectator just yet.
“I’m not sure if I can ever sit in those hard bleachers,” McGrain said. “I may have to be the score keeper – that could be a rough adjustment. I will extremely miss the relationship with my coaches, because we have a bond that cannot be broken.”
He will now be able to watch his son Chaz play baseball at Ashland University and watch his son Zach coach at Baldwin-Wallace College.
“I am looking forward to those activities and spending some quality time with my wife, who has enabled me to coach for so long,” he said.
As for advice to the incoming coach, he said, “Build on our tradition in your way, have fun and expect a lot from our kids, because they have a lot to give.”
McGrain currently teaches occupational work adjustment at OFHS, and will continue to teach in that capacity moving forward.
Bill McGrain Career Notables:
- Head wrestling coach at Olmsted Falls High School from 1986-2012
- Inducted into the Ohio Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006
- Selected as Ohio Wrestling Division II Coach of the Year in 1997
- Career dual meet record of 335-58-3
- Coached 7 individual state champions
- One of only three coaches in Ohio history to coach a state champion in all three divisions
- 12 top-10 state finishes
- 45 state place-winners
- 76 individual state qualifiers
- 13 SWC championship teams, voted SWC Coach of the Year 14 times
- Three-time Greater Cleveland Coach of the Year
OLMSTED FALLS WRESTLING COACHES’ DUAL MEET RECORDS
335-58-3 Bill McGrain (1986-2012)
6-7 Paul Landolfo (1985)
61-14 Jim Emigh (1978-84)
22-28-1 Joe Dudek (1973-77)
4-16 Larry Sherbondy (1971-72)
3-8 Robert Campbell (1970)
2-9 Ron Zmich (1969)
3-7 Nick Chrisopolis (1968)
9-2 Larry Cordisco (1967)
16-4 Dave Kunde (1964-66)
14-6 Tom Relgin (1961-63)