Latrobe wrestling coach's 40-year reign comes to an end
When Marc Billett's wife Lynda retired as a teacher at the end of the school year, he decided it was time to do the same as a wrestling coach.
Billett, who retired as a teacher a few years ago, said it wasn't an easy decision to give up coaching, but he has all fond memories.
“When my wife retired I felt it was only fair to spend more time at home, give up coaching,” Billett said. “I married a special person.
“We really haven't celebrated Christmas over the years because we were in a tournament or we were practicing. Now I get a chance to spend time with her, the kids and grandchildren.”
Billett has been coaching in the district for the past 40 years, the last 21 as the varsity coach, where he compiled a 395-125-4 combined record. He was the longest tenured coach in history at Latrobe.
He also was recently inducted into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame.
“We have a good crew coming up to the varsity and I felt it would be another four-year commitment if I continued to coach. That wouldn't be fair to them if I quit before they were done.
“Things are in good shape and I hope the district considers Tad (Harbert) for the position.
“He has the passion for the sport and the kids love him.”
Billett said teaching and coaching were his calling.
“It came natural for me to do both,” Billett said. “I loved to do both.
“I've had a lot of thrills throughout my career: being inducted into the hall of fame, many who were my idols, and Ryan Goodwin winning a state title.
“The biggest thrill is when my wrestlers come back and tell me I made a difference in their life.”
Billett said he's thankful to have coached so many outstanding individuals.
“I'm not leaving with a bad taste in my mouth,” Billett said. “I'm leaving on my terms.”
Billett said he now plans to travel more with his wife and do more fishing. He's going to Montana in a couple weeks to fish, and he'll continue to teach fly casting and tying ties. He also guides at the Rolling Rock Club.
And even though Billett won't be coaching, he still will stay active in the sport, he said.
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5095 or firstname.lastname@example.org.