In late May legendary high school wrestling coach Greg Urbas announced that he would be retiring after 29 years as the head coach at St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio. Over that period Urbas’ teams have won 24 state championships, including titles in seven of the last eight years, and produced 76 individual state champions. Perhaps one of the most impressive streaks in all of sports is that St. Ed’s has had at least one wrestler achieve DI All-American status in each of the last 35 years. The most recent All-American was Domenic Abounader of Michigan, who finished fifth at 184 lbs in the 2018 NCAA Championships.
Takedown Radio radio recently spoke to Coach Urbas, as well as some of his former wrestlers about his coaching career and more important his impact on their lives and the lives of the entire St. Edward community. Urbas, who was also a math teacher in his time at St. Ed’s, “instills the values of what it means for a young man to be a good human being. It’s always about morals and ethics. It’s about reaching for higher things in life. He preaches that day in and day out, whether it’s in the classroom or the wrestling room” said his former pupil Roger Chandler, currently the head coach for Michigan State.
A common theme among all of the guests who shared their experiences with Coach Urbas was his humility. Whether he meant to or not, he continues to display this trait throughout the conversation. The spotlight should be on his athletes, not him, because “they are the ones that put their foot on the line. They’re the ones going through the really tough practices, the weight cutting, the injuries and flu season, academics”. When he was read a quote about his character, legacy, and accomplishments from school President Jim Kubacki, in typical fashion he deflected the credit, “We’ve got a lot of people that have dedicated themselves at St. Edward HS. It’s about the kids; first, it’s not for the adults. We have a lot of selfless people there that bust their tails for the kids, so I’m humbled just to be there for those guys”.
Longtime assistant John Heffernan will assume the role of head coach, a position which Urbas says, “he had had since 1992, in my eyes anyways”. Coach Urbas will still have an undetermined role as a coach within the wrestling program at St. Edwards, as well as a math tutor with the school.
For more on the legendary “National Championship” dual with North Allegheny, PA, including a heartbreaking story about one of the dual’s heroes, a story from Defense Soap founder Guy Sako about Urbas always keeping and word and much more…