Wrestling Coach is CAC Coach of Year
Whittier's Wrestling Coach Harry Takesian was named the Commonwealth Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for the 2017-2018 wrestling season. He was presented with a plaque for his accomplishment on Jan. 27th at the conclusion of the Massachusetts Vocational Athletic Directors Association Wrestling Tournament,
Takesian, a former Whittier wrestler and MVP, has been a wrestling coach at Whittier for 17 years -- 10 as assistant coach and the last seven as head coach. He's also served as Whittier’s maintenance director since 2006.
The Coach of the Year Award is determined by a vote of all CAC league coaches -- six of the seven voted for Takesian to receive this year’s honor. (Takesian, voted for Shawsheen Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School's Coach Mark Donovan).
The league's coaches recognized the continued improvement of the Whittier Wildcats since Takesian took over as head coach, going from a .500 team to this year's win-loss record of 11-3.
“I tried to change the philosophy by making sure the kids were in better physical condition. That is what helps them improve as athletes," Takesian said. He credits the players hard work to the team's success. "We’ve got some talented kids that work hard. They have a refuse-to-lose attitude. When Whittier walks through the doors, they know they are in for a fight.”
Members of the team said Takesian’s leadership and commitment to them as individuals make him unique. Having never played a sport before, senior Angel Alicea, of Haverhill, joined Takesian’s wrestling team as a sophomore and is now one of four team captains.
“Coach Harry earned this,” Alicea said. “He really deserves the award. He’s there for all of us. It’s nice to have a coach like that. He knows how to be a coach but he also knows how to be a friend. He is very supportive. He reminds that me that I’m a good wrestler and I can be better if I push myself.”
Sophomore Edgar Feliciano, of Haverhill, said "Coach Harry" was the only reason he was at Whittier. Takesian continuously built up his confidence by telling him when he did a good job, or offering pointers when needed.
“I was the first one to pat him on the back," Feliciano said. "Out of all of my years of wrestling, he is the most humble coach I’ve ever had."
In addition to coaching the regular season, Takesian’s commitment to his wrestlers lasts through the off-season as well. Last year, he launched the Wildcat Wrestling Program, which runs from March to October and encourages wrestlers to train and compete all year. Whittier wrestlers won the club’s freestyle state tournament this past year.
Takesian also added excitement to the Wildcat Wrestling Program by bringing in Olympian Wrestler Kyle Snyder for an all-day event that attracted 100 wrestlers of all ages. Snyder is scheduled to return this spring in an effort to build enthusiasm for the program and attract young wrestlers to Whittier.
Now that Whittier Tech's regular season has ended, the Wildcats, composed of 32 boys and three girls, will face off in the state tournament qualifying rounds on Feb. 10 at Danvers High School.