By Ryan Kaczmarski
Olmsted Falls High School has chosen to promote longtime assistant coach Bryce Burkhard to varsity wrestling head coach, and replace 27-year veteran head coach Bill McGrain.
A 1996 graduate of OFHS, Burkhard has been one of McGrain’s top assistants since 2006. As a former Bulldogs wrestler, Burkhard knows the success the program has achieved, both on the mat and as a coach.
“Growing up, one of my goals was to become a head coach for a wrestling program,” he said. “Originally, (my goal) was just to become a head coach; but to be able to come back to the program that brought me up, and lead it, that is the ultimate goal.
“As a former Olmsted Falls wrestler, I am honored and excited to replace my mentor, Bill McGrain,” he added. “To be here, as a Bulldog, and follow in Coach McGrain’s footsteps, is pretty cool.”
Burkhard is starting with a fresh 0-0 record, following McGrain’s school leading record of 335-58-3 in dual meets, but McGrain feels the program will not skip a beat.
“Bryce Burkhard will do a great job here at Olmsted Falls,” McGrain said. “He is a fierce competitor, which is evidenced by his high school career, which included three trips to the state tournament, a fourth-place finish at state and 108 career wins.
“Bryce was a great kid to coach, and he has been more enjoyable to have as my assistant coach the past six years,” he added. “He brings great insight, progressive technique and a drive to win that will be felt by wrestlers here at Olmsted Falls, and it will motivate them to succeed.”
“Bryce has been a loyal and vital assistant to a very successful program throughout the course of his tenure here at Olmsted Falls High School,” OFHS athletic director Rob Coxon said. “He has a clear understanding of the wrestling culture here in our school and community, and we are extremely pleased with him being our next head coach.”
Although Burkhard will be implementing his own style of coaching into the program, he definitely knows not to fix what is not broken.
“The good thing is that I don’t have to ‘reinvent the wheel,’” Burkhard said. “People will see that I have a very similar style to the way (McGrain) ran things, which was a pretty good formula for success. I don’t plan on making any major changes, but I will put a few spins on things with my beliefs and opinions.”
Burkhard will be spending time this summer putting his assistant coaching staff together, with others from McGrain’s staff seeking head coaching jobs in other school districts.
“Chris Odon – a holdover from McGrain’s staff – will definitely be a big part of this coaching staff,” Burkhard said. “I also told Coach McGrain that he has an open invitation to be with the program anytime he wants.”
Burkhard teaches sixth-grade science at Olmsted Falls Middle School and resides in Brunswick with his wife, Courtney, and two children, Camden (6) and Addison (5).