Fox Chapel wrestling coach Frank earns 400th career win
Feb. 15 was a special night for longtime Fox Chapel varsity wrestling coach Ron Frank. The Foxes defeated Plum, 45-28, and gave Frank his 400th career win. It placed him third on the list of the WPIAL's all-time winningest coaches.
He trails former Kiski Area coach Chuck Tursky, who posted a record of 505-143-2 record in 36 seasons, and former Connellsville coach Tom Dolde Sr., who is second with a 448-137-6 record in 34 seasons. Frank, whose team finished with a 9-3 regular-season mark this year, just wrapped up his 36th season at Fox Chapel, and his overall record is 400-273-7.
Frank became the 25th coach in PIAA history to reach 400 wins.
“Many of the wins stand out in my memory,” he said. “I remember the first win in 1979 when we were losing 30-6 to Greensburg- Salem and then recorded five pins in a row to win. I remember a win against Plum the night our son, Patrick, was born. The 300th win that came against Central Catholic stands out, and there are many others.
“But the best memories involve the relationships. There are so many wonderful relationships with parents and wrestlers from the past 40 years. There are wrestlers that graduated a long time ago that now help coach. There are wrestlers that stay in touch from across the country. We have wrestlers who have become successful as police, businessmen, teachers, engineers and doctors.
“There are parents whose sons graduated years ago that still volunteer at our Allegheny County Tournament, working hand-in-hand with wonderful teachers who double as wrestling coaches. We are in a people business. The relationships are the most important aspect because they show that our responsibility and duty as part of the education process of the school district has been successful.”
Frank didn't have much experience when he began coaching at Fox Chapel. He played football at Central Catholic and picked up wrestling only in his senior year. He was a quick learner, though, and the wins kept coming at Fox Chapel. But the wins are secondary.
“It's all about helping people,” he said. “I had coaches take me under their wing and make me a better coach and teacher. Now, we have assembled a wrestling staff that works as a team and consists of great coaches and excellent teachers.”
Frank's staff includes Bob Siar Jr., a PIAA champion; Frank's son, Tim, a WPIAL champion; Joe Bursick, a coach with 200 wins; and another son, Michael Frank, who also coaches the baseball team.
“They not only are great coaches. They are wonderful professional teachers,” said Frank.
Frank treated his 400th win much the way he did his 300th: in a low-key manner.
“Four hundred is just a number,” he said. “I'm very glad that we won and that our seniors went out with a victory. The wins are not about me. They are about the kids who work hard during a match and during a practice. They are what makes the program successful.”
He is unsure how much longer he will be coaching.
“I don't have any kind of a plan in place as to when I'll retire. I'm still having fun, and I'm enjoying teaching the kids about wrestling.”
Marty Stewart is a freelance writer.