Hempfield names Dolde wrestling coach
Tommy Dolde led Connellsville to a state title in 2005 and WPIAL titles in ’04, ‘05 and ’08.
Now the 13-year coach will try to keep the Hempfield wrestling program on top.
The Hempfield Area School District’s board named Dolde coach last week to replace Vince DeAugustine, who resigned to become the Norwin coach.
Dolde inherits a good team that qualified for the WPIAL semifinals with a win against Seneca Valley but was forced to forfeit the win after the school learned an ineligible wrestler participated.
“I’m really pumped up about my new opportunity,” Dolde said. “I feel like a teenager again. It’s nice to have a school board that appreciates my past and appreciates my drive and my hard work.
“I feel Greg Meisner (Hempfield Athletic Director) and I are a good fit. Hempfield has some tough kids, and I’m looking forward to working with them.”
Dolde said Mike Kirkling will be one of his assistant coaches, and former Connellsville wrestlers Jarrod King and Steve Bell will be volunteer assistants.
“One of my main goals is to work with the Junior Olympic program and meet with the people and continue to build it up,” Dolde said. “I’m in it for the long haul.”
Dolde had a 265-75 record during his 13 years at Connellsville. He was an assistant under his dad, the late Tom Dolde, when the Falcons won four WPIAL titles.
He was not rehired after the 2015-16 season.
His new team features three PIAA qualifiers including third-place finisher Kyle Burkholder, whom he coached at Connellsville during Dolde’s final season. The others were freshman Ty Linsenbigler and Isaiah Vance.
“We’re excited to get Tom,” Meisner said. “His record is incredible, and I was impressed with his passion when we competed against his Connellsville teams. We had some very good candidates and it was a tough decision, but we’re very pleased to get him.”