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Doppelheuer chosen to lead Belle Vernon wrestling

| Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, 12:29 a.m.

Mike Doppelheuer comes from a long wrestling tradition.

He was a Pennsylvania Jr. state champion, a three-time WPIAL qualifier and a PIAA qualifier as a wrestler at powerhouse Connellsville in the mid-90s.

Now, he plans on helping to continue building a powerhouse tradition at Belle Vernon Area.

Doppelheuer was hired by the school board Monday as the Leopards' new wrestling coach.

He replaces Tyler Nauman, who resigned in April.

“I actually was approached by Coach (Jack) Jolley a few years ago about becoming an assistant but I couldn't work out the logistics,” Doppelheuer said. “The last time the position was opened, I didn't even know about it. This time, I immediately applied.

“I spoke it over with my wife and wanted to make sure we could make it work as a family first then I immediately applied.”

Doppelheuer isn't a stranger to the team.

“I've been affiliated with the youth program here for a while now. On top of that, I am an official, so I refereed some of their matches,” he said. “I've kept my eye on them. Over the past few years, they kept getting stronger and stronger and I think the program is moving in the right direction.”

Working with the youth program helped push him to get back into coaching.

“Being there with my son and helping out really made me want to get back into it,” he said. “Connellsville has a deep history and tradition and that's something I think we can build at Belle Vernon.”

Wrestling is unique in that it is a team and individual sport, but Doppelheuer wants to make sure that the team comes first.

“I'll look at each wrestler and look at their styles,” Doppelheuer said. “I've had 13 years of experience, so maybe there's something from my past that I can use to help them individually.

“I know that there are a lot of great wrestlers on the team as it is. I want to keep the program heading in a positive direction in the classroom and on the mats. In the short term, I want them all to wrestle our best. I want to bring home a section championship and a WPIAL championship as a team. I don't think a PIAA championship is out of our reach. I want all of them to be successful in the individual tournaments, too, but I want the team to come first.

“I think as a whole, the entire team can have a special season this year. They're hard workers on the mat and I know we have a few big names in the lineup. I think we'll be able to have a great season, but individual accolades come after team accolades.”

Doppelheuer said that he hasn't reached out to team members yet, but he is eager to do so. He plans on meeting with Athletic Director Jesse Cramer first.

“I want to know when we can get the room opened up and start working out,” Doppelheuer said. “I just want to make sure I'm as organized as I can be. I'm looking forward to getting started.”

Cramer said he thinks Doppelheuer is a good fit at BVA.

“First off, he's local and he's been involved with the youth program,” Cramer said. “He comes from a place that had a lot of success and has a lot of tradition at Connellsville. I think he'll be able to bring great experience to our program.

Doppelheuer is currently a middle school teacher for the Connellsville Area School District.

He and his wife, Krissie, live in Rostraver Township. They have two sons, Kole, 7, and Rylee, 4.

Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jsellew@tribweb.com or 724-684-2667.

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