Jeff Havelka


Canon-McMillan High School wrestling coach Jeff Havelka has resigned after four seasons.

It’s difficult enough under normal circumstances to handle the head wrestling coach position at Canon-McMillan High School.

Add children to the mix and it might just be untenable.

Just ask Jeff Havelka.

The 34-year-old welcomed his second child into the world recently and found out that responsibility is much more demanding than a room full of high school kids.

So after a four-year successful stay with the program, Havelka turned in his resignation, despite the efforts of many to talk him out of it.

“I have two kids now and don’t know if I have the time to do the job right,” Havelka said Saturday. “For now, I’m going to take some time and spend it with the family. I’m going to take some time and hopefully with the hire help out at Canon-McMillan and where I work, at Chartiers-Houston.

“I’m not going to be fully immersed in it. But in a few years if my son wants to try (the sport), maybe I’ll get involved at that level. I don’t know. I’m definitely going to step away from it for a while and enjoy some family time.”

Havelka was in the corner when Gerrit Nijenhuis won two individual gold medals and Logan Macri won one.

“Probably, I would have to say coaching at the state tournament was the high point,” said Havelka. “I never did that as a wrestler. Just seeing kids working so hard and coming together. That’s a great tournament. I wish more people could come to it. Kids moving up weights and moving weights for us were part of some of the memories.”

Havelka spent the past four seasons as Big Macs coach and amassed a 54-18 record. Two years ago, Havelka led the Big Macs to third place in the WPIAL Class AAA Team Tournament after a 41-16 victory over Hempfield. The Big Macs qualified for the state team tournament and went 1-2.

In the 2018-19 season, Canon-McMillan came in as the fourth seed and was beaten by Kiski in the semifinals. A 41-24 win over Waynesburg gave Canon-McMillan another third place and trip to Hershey for the state team event. Kiski knocked the Big Macs out of the race for third place at the Giant Center.

Three years ago, Canon-McMillan finished runner-up to Kiski in the WPIAL Team Tournament and was defeated by Erie Cathedral Prep for third place in the state event.

Canon-McMillan athletic director Frank Vulcano said the opening will be posted inhouse then will go out to the public.

“I think Jeff did an awesome job,” Vulcano said. “He maintained the tradition of Canon-McMillan wresting. Hopefully, we can find someone who can improve on it.”

Vulcano said much is expected from any wrestling coach but moreso when it comes to Canon-McMillan because of its success.

“We’ll move forward,” said Vulcano, “and see what type of applicants we get.”

Assistant Sports Editor

Joe Tuscano has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1980. He has covered all sports for the newspaper, including the Steelers, Pirates, Pitt football, local college football and wrestling.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. If you have a subscription, please Log In.