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Familiar faces to join Billman's Easton coaching staff

Easton Area High School head wrestling coach JaMarr Billman will be joined on the sidelines by two familiar faces next season: Steve Powell and Robbie Rizzolino.

Powell, head coach for Red Rovers wrestling for more than three decades, will serve as an advisor to the storied wrestling program ... while Rizzolino will be an assistant coach to Billman.

Easton Wrestling announced the new staff members on Twitter Thursday.

Here's the tweet heralding the arrival of Rizzolino, a 2013 Easton grad who wrestled at Oregon's Clackamas Community College for two years before completing his collegiate career wrestling for the North Carolina State Wolfpack: @EastonWrestling

"We are very excited and proud to announce that @PackWrestle graduate and our very own @RobbieRizzolino will be joining our coaching staff. He is an excellent and complementary addition to our family! Can't wait to have him working with our wrestlers!#EastonPride"

Steve Powell
Minutes later, @EastonWrestling shared the news of Steve Powell's return:

"One more announcement: We are proud to have back on the coaching staff in an advisory role someone everyone in Easton Wrestling is familiar with. We are proud to have my mentor and coach back in the program. Welcome back @eahsmatrat (Coach Powell)#EastonLegend"

As the tweet -- and a news story in The Morning Call -- made clear, Powell -- who could claim 534 dual meet wins and 19 Pennsylvania state champs in his 32 seasons as Easton's head coach -- will serve as a team advisor rather than in an official capacity as an assistant coach.

This past season was a challenging one for coach Billman and his Red Rovers, culminating in an incident at the 2018 PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association) Wrestling Championships in Hershey the second weekend of March. One of Billman's wrestlers failed to make weight for the finals. The wrestler's family reacted angrily, with reports that the grandfather attempted to choke Billman and hurled racial slurs at the African-American coach. (Charges have been filed against the alleged attacker in Dauphin County, home to the Pennsylvania state tournament.)

Days after the incident, Easton Area High administrators responded by firing Billman and his assistant coaches on Tuesday, March 13. However, by that Friday, the school had changed its mind, and announced Billman had been rehired.

As head coach at Easton for the past two seasons, Billman compiled an overall record of 24-13, 13-5 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference. The Red Rovers claimed two District 11 Class 3A champions this past year. However, the traditional powerhouse mat program went without a state medalist for the second straight season for the first time since 1967.

Before becoming a wrestling coach, 39-year-old JaMarr Billman was a two-time PIAA state champ for Easton. In college, he was a three-time NCAA All-American, first at Penn State, then at Lock Haven University.

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