A lot has happened to the legendary high school wrestling program at Easton Area High School in Pennsylvania ... starting with the firing of JaMarr Billman, wrestling-alma mater-turned-head-coach-of-the-boys-program at the end of May this year ... and now ending the announced hiring of new head coaches for the legendary boys program ... and launch of a brand-new girls varsity program.
Early this week, Jody Karam was announced to take the helm of the boys mat program ... while Jordan Kutler was named to be the head coach of the Easton girls wrestling program. (Easton had announced the intended launch of a new girls program but a coach had yet to be hired for that position until this week.)
Karam is a 1983 Easton grad who had after moving Liberty's all-time leader in coaching victories. He was 362-150-1 in 26 seasons before stepping down in 2019. He is 409-161-3 overall including three years at Delaware Valley Regional (N.J.).
Meet Jody Karam, Easton boys wrestling coach
Jody Karam replaces JaMarr Billman, who had been head boys coach at Easton High School, compiling an overall won-loss record of 42-26 in his four seasons of the boys program.
Northampton graduate Steve Mytych and Easton product Robbie Rizzolino were the other finalists for boys coaching position at Easton once was Billman had been let go.
Karam is a 1983 Easton grad and Liberty's all-time leader in coaching victories. He was 362-150-1 in 26 seasons before stepping down in 2019. He is 409-161-3 overall including three years at Delaware Valley Regional (N.J.).
The Hurricanes won their only EPC championship and were third in the District 11 Class 3A team duals in Karam's final season.
Jordan Kutler wrestling against Mark Hall (Photo/Lehigh Athletics)
Meet Jordan Kutler, Easton girls' coach
Jordan Kutler, varsity wrestling graduate at Lehigh University, will be the first girls wrestling head coach in Easton Area High School history.
Sources indicated at the start of this week that Kutler was the top choice to head up the new girls' program. Kutler went 87-13 at Lehigh on his career and was a three-time NCAA All-American. He was ranked No. 3 in the nation at 174 pounds in March after winning his third EIWA (Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) before the collegiate wrestling season was ended by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kutler, a Sparta native, holds a degree from Lehigh in behavioral neuroscience. He is a graduate of Blair Academy, where he was a two-time National Prep champion.
This new girls program at Easton is only the fourth girls program in the state of Pennsylvania: J.P. McCaskey in Lancaster, North Allegheny in suburban Pittsburgh and Executive Education Academy, according to the Morning Call.
A legendary mat program
Easton has one of the strongest wrestling programs in the country. The Red Rovers wrestling program was launched in 1947 by assistant football coach Gust Zamnas, a former All-American offensive lineman at Ohio State and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Dick Rutt was Easton's first state champion, winning the 105-pound weight class in 1949. From 1948 to 2015, Easton crowned at least one champion at the District 11 Tournament in every season, setting a Pennsylvania record known as The Streak Former Easton coaches John Maitland, Dave Crowell, and Steve Powell are all members of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Easton is second in Pennsylvania history with 35 state champions, including 1984 Olympic gold medalist Bobby Weaver (1975, 1976, 1977), two-time NCAA champions Jack Cuvo (1983, 1984, 1985) and Jordan Oliver (2006, 2007, 2008), two-time NCAA Finalist and University of Nebraska associate head coach Bryan Snyder (1997), NCAA All-Americans Jamarr Billman (1996, 1997) and Mitchell Minotti (2011), and former NC State football coach Chuck Amato (1965). Easton has produced 185 District 11 champions, 116 Northeast Regional Champions, 127 PIAA state medalists, 55 PIAA state finalists and 35 PIAA state champions. At the collegiate level, Easton wrestlers have earned 21 NCAA Division I All-Americans honors, eight NCAA Finals appearances, and four NCAA Championships.
The program was started in 1947 by assistant football coach Gust Zarnas, a former All-American offensive lineman at Ohio State and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Dick Rutt was Easton's first state champion, winning the 105-pound weight class in 1949. From 1948 to 2015, Easton crowned at least one champion at the District 11 Tournament in every season, setting a Pennsylvania record known as The Streak. Former Easton coaches John Maitland, Dave Crowell, and Steve Powell are all members of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Powell retired in 2016 after 32 years as the head coach with a career record of 532-126-3, four state championships, and four state duals championships. He coached 19 individual state champions, third most of any coach in Pennsylvania history. His eight combined state titles are the most of any coach in Pennsylvania history.
JaMarr Billman was head wrestling coach at Easton until the end of May. He had been the first African-American assistant coach at the high school level. Before assuming the helm, Billman was a two-time Pennsylvania state champ who then became a three-time NCAA All-American at Penn State and Lock Haven.
Prior to the recent changeover regarding the Easton head wrestling coach JaMarr Billman, a two-time state champion for the Red Rovers and a three-time NCAA All-American at Penn State and Lock Haven. Billman will debut in the 2016-2017 season. Billman has been an assistant coach at Cornell University, Easton, and Wilson High School. Billman is also the first African-American head coach in Easton history in any boys sport.
Since the PIAA began crowning a team champion at the state tournament 1976, Easton has won six state championships (1981, 1983, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002) and finished in the top five eighteen times. Pennsylvania added a State Dual tournament in 1999, which Easton won four years in a row from 2001 to 2004. Easton has been to the State Dual Finals eight times, a Pennsylvania record, and their four championships are tied for the most in the state. Since the advent of national rankings by publications such as Amateur Wrestling News and Wrestling USA, Easton has been a consistent presence in the national rankings. In 1996, 1997, 2001, and 2002, Easton was ranked the No. 1 public school wrestling team in the nation.