Brian Antonelli coaching at the Walsh Ironman (Photo/Sam Janicki, SJanickiPhoto.com)
The National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) is proud to announce Chris Brian Antonelli of Blair Academy in Blairstown, New Jersey as its National High School Wrestling Coach of the Year.
All Antonelli has done in his four years as the school's head coach is lead the Buccaneers to four straight NHSCA/USA TODAY Super 25 national championships. Blair nailed down the national title with an impressive showing at the Prep Nationals. The Bucs won the national tournament, outscoring No. 2 Wyoming Seminary (Kingston, Pennsylvania) 354-325.
Blair also tied the all-time Prep Nationals record by crowning nine overall individual champs. Antonelli also led the Bucs to team championships at the Beast of the East, Geary and Ironman individual championships.
"Wrestling one of the toughest schedules in the country and going through it undefeated is a huge accomplishment for our guys," said Brian Antonelli. "Blair wrestlers competed hard, and they represented the School with class the entire season. We are thankful for the support we received throughout, and we are proud of concluding the high school season with a national championship."
"We are extremely pleased to honor Coach Antonelli," said Eric Hess, Executive Director of the NHSCA. "In his four years at Blair, he's built on the school's tremendous tradition, keeping the Bucs as one of the nation's elite programs. He exhibits a strong dedication to supporting and developing his high school student-athletes in the classroom and outside of it."
Antonelli joins legendary Blair head coach Jeff Buxton as a NHSCA National Wrestling Coach of the Year. Buxton won the award in 1997. Antonelli is the second straight coach from New Jersey to win the award. David Bell won the award last year.
Throughout April, the NHSCA will be announcing the 2018-2019 Coach of the Year honorees in 20 boys' and girls' sports. This marks the 20th consecutive year the NHSCA has honored achievers within the high school athletic community nationwide.
Each of the honorees will receive a beautiful plaque. In addition, the Coach of the Year honoree will be displayed in the National High School Digital Sports Hall of Fame that is currently under development.
Past NHSCA High School National High School Wrestling Coaches of the Year:
2018 - David Bell - Bergen Catholic HS (New Jersey)
2017 - Mike Palazzo - Lake Highland Prep (Florida)
2016 - Scott Green - Wyoming Seminary (Pennsylvania)
2015 - Mike Powell - Oak Park River Forest HS (Illinois)
2014 - Dave Dean - Lowell HS (Michigan)
2013 - Steve Tirapelle - Clovis HS (California)
2012 - Pat Simpson - Father Ryan HS (Tennessee)
2011 - Cliff Ramos - Collins Hill HS (Georgia)
2010 - Barry Chooljian - Timberlane HS (New Hampshire)
2009 - Jeff Sweigard - Central Dauphin HS (Pennsylvania)
2008 - Bill Jacoutot - Spencerport HS (New York)
2007 - Jerry Winterton - Cary HS (North Carolina)
2006 - Mike Polz - Carl Sandburg HS (Illinois)
2005 - Roy Hall - Davison HS (Michigan)
2004 - Terry Daubert - Northampton HS (Pennsylvania)
2003 - Jeff Jordan - St. Paris Graham HS (Ohio)
2002 - David East - Bakersfield HS (California)
Jim Jackson - Apple Valley HS (Minnesota)
2001 - Dave Crowell - Wilson Borough HS (Pennsylvania)
Jeff Jordan - Clarksville HS (Tennessee)
2000 - Russ Cozart - Brandon HS (Florida)
Scott Legacy - Mount Anthony Union HS (Vermont)
Herb Stinson - Aztec HS (New Mexico)
1999 - Lewie Benitz - Lincoln HS (Wisconsin);
Keith Healy - Providence Catholic HS (Illinois)
Tim Marzuola - Highlands Park HS (Texas)
Dick Rhoades - Bald Eagle Area HS (Pennsylvania)
1998 - Wayne Branstetter - Poway HS (California)
Scott Davis - Owantonna HS (Minnesota)
Greg Urbas - St. Edward (Ohio)
1997 - Jeff Buxton - Blair Academy (New Jersey),
Benny Coleman - Choctow HS (Oklahoma)
Steve Powell - Easton HS (Pennsylvania)