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Jolley resigns as BVA wrestling coach

| Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Jim Ference | The valley Independent
Belle Vernon's wrestling coach Jack Jolley.

Jack Jolley let the Belle Vernon Area School Board off the hook by resigning from his post as the varsity wrestling coach.

Jolley, who had served as the school's coach for 16 years, turned in his resignation Sunday night so that the board could act on it at Monday's meeting instead of voting whether or not to open the position.

His resignation was accepted by a 5-3 vote with directors Joe Grata, Aaron Bialon and Ed Naylor casting dissenting votes.

Jolley said last week that if his position were indeed opened he would not re-apply for the job.

“Even if they had not had the votes to open my job, I could not have continued under the circumstances,” Jolley said. “How can you coach under that kind of pressure? A coach has to run his own program and not look over his shoulder. I figured it was the best move for me and for the kids if I resign.”

Jolley said he was told internally a little while back that his job would be opened and he was stunned by that news.

At the school board meeting, Grata declined to discuss his vote and Bialon said he could not attend a previous meeting when personnel was discussed.

But Naylor said he supported the job Jolley did turning around the program over the past four years.

He also questioned the move, coming on the heels of the board's decision to open up the boys basketball coach job held by Eric James the past two years.

“If I was going to put in an application here for the basketball coach or wrestling coach, I'd be a little leary,” Naylor said.

Even though he said that resigning was the best thing to do, he admitted that if he had never heard about his job being opened, he probably would not have resigned.

“That's a good question,” he said. “I lost one of my assistants, Jason Weslager, who resigned after the season and I would have had to find another coach. It would have been tough to continue. Still, had this not happened, I probably would not have resigned.”

Jolley said he did not want to get into specifics as to why a faction of the administration wanted him out, but said there were obvious problems that were mounting.

“I don't want to get into anything negative,” he said. “I still teach here and I want to see the kids do well.”

Jolley said he will miss the competition and the interaction with the wrestlers.

“I will miss that. I loved the competition. I loved the early holiday practices, putting in a good workout and sweating it out,” he said. “Then, after we were done we'd sit around on the mat with the kids and just talk because nobody had anywhere to go. That interaction is what I will miss the most.

“I never really cared much about winning, well not any more than any other coach,” he added. “What I enjoyed was seeing kids work hard and develop and see how they turned out. Watching that progression is what gave me the most satisfaction as a coach.”

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or joliver@tribweb.com.

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