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Winning secondary for wrestling coach

| Monday, March 25, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
George L. Lamprinakos, 87, of Mt. Lebanon, died Saturday morning, March 23, 2013.

During the 31 years George Lamprinakos coached wrestling at Mt. Lebanon High School, he amassed a record that made him a local legend. But the titles were not his most important accomplishment, his son said.

“My dad was a teacher first. He really loved and cared about the kids,” said John Lamprinakos of West Chester. “The thing he was best at was teaching sportsmanship. He wasn't the strongest technical coach, but he knew how to teach you how to be a man.”

George L. Lamprinakos of Mt. Lebanon died Saturday, March 23, 2013. He was 87.

Born in the North Side, Mr. Lamprinakos served as a sergeant in the Army Air Corps in the Philippines during World War II. After his discharge, he attended the University of Pittsburgh and became a physical education teacher at Mt. Lebanon High School, where he worked for 38 years.

In 1956, Mr. Lamprinakos revived the school's wrestling program, which had been disbanded before the war. He compiled a 332-129-6 record as coach, including three undefeated seasons. His teams won 22 section titles, six conference championships and seven WPIAL titles. He coached 13 state wrestling champions.

In 1973, he was voted Coach of the Year by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, and was a member of the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. He received the Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Bill Lewis, who has coached Mt. Lebanon wresting for the past 18 years, said Mr. Lamprinakos contributed more than a winning record.

“He wasn't only interested in creating state championships; he was interested in creating great people,” Lewis said. “He set the standard that we are constantly trying to achieve.”

Lewis said the wrestling program's most prestigious award is named for Mr. Lamprinakos and longtime assistant Dick Jones.

Mr. Lamprinakos coached a number of athletes who wrestled at the collegiate level and beyond, including Kurt Angle, a two-time NCAA champion and 1996 Olympic Gold Medal winner.

In addition to his son, Mr. Lamprinakos is survived by two daughters, RoseAnn Orr of Greensburg and Christine Liotta of Franklin; a brother, Nicholas Lamprinakos of Mt. Lebanon; and 11 grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, the former Beatrice Kokinakis, and a brother, John L. Lamprinakos.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday in Laughlin Memorial Chapel, 222 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon, with a Trisagion service at 7 p.m. Funeral services will be at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, 123 Gilkeson Road, Mt. Lebanon. Interment with military honors will be in National Cemetery of the Alle-ghenies in Cecil.

Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or tlarussa@tribweb.com.

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