Just one week after being named Pennsylvania Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association, Canon-McMillan head coach Chris Mary was named national Coach of the Year by Wrestling USA Magazine, one of the leading publications in the sport.
Mary led the Big Macs to a sweep of the PIAA team titles this season, which gave them five of a possible six over the last three seasons.
“I was truly blessed with great talent,” said Mary. “With wrestlers such as Connor Schram, Cody Wiercioch and with what Solomon Chishko went through with his adversity … it’s quite an honor. It’s not one man, it’s a team that represents Canon-McMillan, and I am just blessed to be the leader of the program.”
Schram, Wiercioch and Chishko each won individual PIAA championships this season, bringing Mary’s total to six wrestlers who have won PIAA gold medals in his 13 years as head coach. Chishko missed the regular season with a severe elbow injury but came back in the postseason, winning all 11 bouts.
Schram and Wiercioch, who have a combined four state gold medals and eight appearances in the state finals, competed in the 17th annual Dream Team Classic in Chicago last month and also represented the Pennsylvania Team in this year’s Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic.
“It’s humbling to be part of something so big,” said Mary, who has a 214-42 record. “I’ll appreciate all this forever. The kids are going to realize in 10 years or so what they really accomplished.”
Mary and assistant coach Glenn Haynes were honored by the National Wrestling Coaches Association with the state awards. The National Coach of the Year is expected to be named in the next two weeks. Last year, Mary was named the Eastern Regional Coach of the Year by the NWCA.
Canon-McMillan set a WPIAL record by becoming the first Class AAA team to win four consecutive WPIAL Team Tournament titles. The Big Macs also won the Reno Tournament of Champions and placed second behind national power Blair Academy in the team standings of last December’s Powerade Christmas Wrestling Tournament.
“These accolades are pretty special,” said Mary. “We have won five Class AAA state titles over the last three years. You think about that, and it begins to register that this is a special group.”