Dave Kling walks away from KO wrestling
By JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
Published: Thursday, Feb. 13, 2003,
Just as a wrestler knows when it is the right time to make a move in a match, Keystone Oaks wrestling coach Dave Kling knew when it was time to make his.
After 30 years of coaching the Golden Eagles wrestling team, Kling will walk away from the mats at the end of this season. He also will retire from teaching social studies at the end of the school year.
"It's time," said Kling, 55, of Castle Shannon. "I pretty much came into this year knowing I was going to retire at the end of the year. It will be difficult to say good-bye to a sport I have known all my life."
Kling said the hardest part will be leaving the young men whom he enjoyed teaching the intricacies of the sport. He could not pinpoint one specific moment which was his best, but said each year had its special times. Kling was honored Wednesday prior to the Golden Eagles final regular-season home match against Belle Vernon. He was presented with a plaque for his dedication to the school and the sport. During his tenure, Kling recorded a 380-152-2 career record, not counting last night's match.
Kling said it was perfect timing because he believes he has built a solid program which can survive without him. He plans to leave the area and retire to Lakeland, Fla., with his wife, Lynn. That will give him more time to work on his golf game. He also expects to stay connected to the sport by officiating in the sunshine state.
But it was at Keystone Oaks in the Keystone State, where Kling has always felt at home.
"The coaches and parents and the administration have been great," said Kling, who has been inducted into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Hall of Fame. "I have had the support of so many people over the years. It has been a real satisfying career for me. I haven't had many negative feelings in all those years. My time at Keystone Oaks has been near perfect."
One of the biggest things Kling will miss is the practices, he said. He enjoyed practices because they were times for him to work one-on-one with each athlete, Kling said.
"That was my time to work with the kids and watch them grow and get better," Kling said. "That was rewarding."
Former Seneca Valley wrestling coach Ken Lockey has known Kling forever. Lockey said Kling is a super promoter of wrestling in western Pennsylvania. The sport is in his blood. His father, Lynn Kling, is also a western Pennsylvania and Southwestern Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee. They are the first father-son pair inducted into the state.
So, even when Kling retires, he will stay involved in the sport in some way, Lockey said.
"Dave is a friend and a person I respect," Lockey said.
Kling's teaching colleague at Keystone Oaks Bob McGregor said Kling is a competitor and what has made him a successful coach is the fact that he cares about the complete athlete. He passed his competitiveness on to his wrestlers.
"They were more than just athletes to Dave," McGregor said. "He cares about their academics and their athletics. He was very regimented and kept kids from straying the wrong way. He achieved success and not just from the amount of wins he's had. He had the ability to take an average athlete and make him achieve and use his individual talents."
Keystone Oaks athletic director Joe Perry said Kling will be tough to replace.
"He is a quality individual and outstanding coach," Perry said. "But I am happy for Dave. This was his decision. He has made Keystone Oaks one of the top wrestling programs in the WPIAL. He created long-term stability in that coaching position. He is a good teacher which is why he was such a good coach."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.