Thursday, January 28, 1999
By Chad Sebring SPECIAL TO THE TRIBUNE
Outwardly, Honesdale's wrestling coach Rich Chulada will tell you coaching milestones are not important. It's spending time with his team and imparting wrestling knowledge that he enjoys most. But after capturing his 300th dual-meet victory of his career over Abington Heights, 53-9, Wednesday, Chulada admitted it felt good to notch number 300. The veteran coach, who was named Times-Tribune Regional Coach of the Year in 1994 and 1996, has directed the Hornets to Lackawanna League wrestling titles in 1985, 1994, 1997 and 1998. The milestone victory keeps the Hornets in first place in the Lackawanna Division standings this season. Chulada joins select company, becoming the second Lackawanna League wrestling coach to reach 30 wins and the third from District 2. John Diven, who retired from the Abington Heights job at the end o last season, compiled a 325-149-1 mark during his career. The only other coach from District 2 to reach 300 wins is Wilkes-Barre Coughlins Dana Balum, who had 358 wins entering this season.
Chulada said he doesnt measure success in terms of wins and losses. Instead, he would rather defe credit to his wrestlers and assistant coaches. I think all of the matches Ive been involved in are special, he said. Our kids have enjoyed some grea success and they deserve a lot of credit along with the coaches who have been here throughout the years. The focus of the team is always positive. This is a tribute to them. Former assistant coach Jim Rodda said he remembered sitting mat-side with Chulada for his 50th, 100t and 150th wins, but said he was sure reaching the 300th meant the most because the coachs youngest son Ryan is a tri-captain on the team. It means a tremendous amount to him because Ryan is here to share it with him, Rodda said. Thats the type of family-oriented guy he is. All of the success in this program is because of Rich. Hes as solid as a rock. If the win was important to the coach, it was equally important to the son, who said he has known since his freshman year that he would be on the team when his father reached 300. I figured out how many wins per year we averaged and knew we had a shot, said Ryan, who won a decision at 140 pounds. It meant so much to him and to me. Im just glad I was here to help him get it. It was incredible.
Reaching the 300-win mark makes Chulada eligible to be inducted into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame next season.