GRANGER TWP. — After three seasons as the lead man for the Highland wrestling program, Alan Fried’s contract has been non-renewed according to athletic director Dr. John Deuber.
While Fried’s dual meet record of 6-19 doesn’t look all that impressive, the former national champion and three-time state champion took a program that was barely breathing and put life back into it.
A team that went 2-6 the season before he came to the Hornets and one that forfeited half its matches in Fried’s first season, Highland went 5-5 this season and 4-2 in the Suburban League American Conference. The Hornets added a second-place finish at the Willard Invitational in 2017-18.
What’s more, the Hornets fielded a team of 16 wrestlers this season and were only missing a heavyweight.
“Alan is a very fine teacher of wrestling, and we are grateful for the time he spent in our program,” Deuber said. “He helped to move a program that was struggling back towards respectability.”
All 16 wrestlers are expected back next season, with state qualifier Brady Linder leading the charge. District qualifiers Michael Moffa, Jake Bryson and Jake O’Donnell also will return, as will district alternates Warren Wright, Leo Smith, Tyler Haney and Gabe Noble.
What’s more, the roster should double with an influx of a fantastic middle school wrestlers coming in. The middle school team finished eighth at the state tournament in a field of more than 275 schools.
“We are excited about the bright future of our wrestling team, looking at the youth and middle school teams and the talent we have coming back at the high school,” Deuber said. “There is so much to being a head varsity coach and being the face of a program at the school and in the community.”
The position will be posted internally and be advertised, and Deuber is confident a number of big names will throw their hat into the ring.
While Fried leaves Highland, the former world champion isn’t exiting the conference. The four-time Junior National freestyle champion has already taken a job with Brecksville, according to the team’s Twitter account.
Fried began coaching the freestyle program Monday.
“We wish Alan the best in his future coaching roles,” Deuber said.
Contact Brad Bournival at email@example.com.