Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mcguffey's Caffrey on Verge of Victory No. 300

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mcguffey's Caffrey on Verge of Victory No. 300

Article excerpt

McGuffey coach Mark Caffrey enters this high school wrestling season with a chance to join an elite club.

Caffrey has a 297-56 record in 19 seasons as the Highlanders coach, leaving him just three short of the WPIAL's 300-victory club.

"When I began coaching, I never dreamed I would coach this long," said Caffrey, who will open his 20th season Wednesday when McGuffey travels to Keystone Oaks for its Section 5-AAA opener.

"I figured I would coach five, maybe 10 seasons then get out of coaching. I never thought I would be coaching this long, and certainly didn't expect to win 300 matches."

In fact, Caffrey almost got out of coaching at the start of the 2000-01 season. He stepped down after McGuffey's first match due to health concerns.

"I decided not to coach that season and I really missed it," said Caffrey, who returned to McGuffey the following year after dealing with a minor blood pressure concern. "Once you get wrestling in your blood, it's tough to step away."

Despite gaining credit for only one victory in that abbreviated season, Caffrey has averaged 15.6 wins per season, which ranks first by far among WPIAL coaches who have 100 or more career wins. Kiski Area's Chuck Tursky is a distant second with an average of 13.3 wins per season.

Caffrey also boasts an astounding .841 winning percentage, which ranks second among WPIAL coaches with 100 or more wins. The only WPIAL coach who has a higher winning percentage is former Canon- McMillan coach Jim Newman (112-19-2), who had an .868 winning percentage in eight seasons with the Big Macs.

"It would be a real honor to join such a great group of coaches," Caffrey said. "It's a milestone that very few coaches attain."

The WPIAL Century Club currently has 11 coaches who have reached 300 wins, including one individual who joined earlier this year.

The most recent entry was Gateway's Dick Bane, who retired after last season. Bane concluded his 34-year career with a 302-189-6 record, which ranks him 10th on the all-time victories list. …

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