After helping bring the Lake-Lehman wrestling program back to prominence in the last four years, head coach Tom Williams has filed paperwork stating that he will not return for the 2014-15 wrestling season.
It will become official at the school board meeting, which will be held on Monday night.
“We have 30 days from the end of the season to put in if we’re coming back for the next season and I put in that I’m not coming back next season,” Williams said. “I am going to explore my options.”
When Williams took over for Phil Lipski at the beginning of the 2010-11 season, the Black Knights program was flailing at the bottom of the standings in the Wyoming Valley Conference.
Under Williams’ guidance, he helped the program claim three straight WVC Division II titles – including a shared title with Meyers and Tunkhannock this season – three consecutive appearances in the District 2 Class 2A Duals finals and three straight team championships at the District 2 Tournament and totaling more than 60 wins in the those four seasons.
Austin Harry, who wrapped up his career last month with a third-place finish at the PIAA Championships, was a four-time state qualifier, four-time district champ and three-time regional titlist under Williams’ guidance. He and his assistant Jack Davis have also coached more than three dozen district medalists, including 17 district champions.
“I took the program at a transitional period and I think it’s in pretty good shape now,” he said. “There are 10 kids who placed at the district tournament that could return next year and six regional qualifiers that could return as well. …I think we’re leaving it in pretty good shape.”
Prior to taking over the reigns in 2010, Williams was co-head coach with Lipski for 10 years in the 1990s. In those years, the duo combined to win more than 150 duals.
During his recent tenure, Williams has been part of controversy with the program in two of the seasons including when he was suspended for an event this season. He said that’s not the reason for his decision.
“I said that when I took the job four years ago that I didn’t know how long and I wanted to stay and I wanted to see year-to-year where we’re at,” he added. “Did that play a part of it? No.”
The Lake-Lehman post is the second coaching vacancy so far in what is expected to be a busy offseason of possible changes as Coughlin will have a new coach next season.
The Black Knights job is sure to be a popular opening due to the history behind the program. Davis could be a contender for the position, as well as junior high coach Jason Prokopchak. Outside of the program, Meyers’ Ron Swingle is originally from that area and was rumored to be interested last time the post was vacant.