(Click to take you to Pictures throughout the years)
Interscholastic wrestling started in Harvard in 1958. There were 13 wrestlers on the original squad coached by Don Hardle. Mr. Hardle led the team for only one season. Mr. Chuck Riker took over as head coach for the next two seasons. Little is known of those early days.
Mr. John Sciacca became Harvard’s third wrestling coach in 1961 and held that position until his final season in 1977-78 when he retired from teaching and coaching. Coach Sciacca’s tenure saw many firsts for Harvard Wrestling: our first District Championship in 1965, our first state qualifier, Jim Sciacca, in 1967, and the start of the 2 class system with five straight Regional Championships and a 4th place finish in the state tournament in 1974. Through his leadership Harvard had 18 state qualifiers including 9 place winners. Coach Sciacca was named the Class "A" Coach of the Year in 1978 and was inducted into the IWCOA Hall of Fame following his retirement.
Mr. Richard Holtfreter was assistant to Coach Sciacca for 16 years. He took the reins as Harvard’s 4th head coach with the start of the 1978-79 season. Coach Holtfreter’s teams won 7 Regional Championships and our first State Champion-ship in 1983. He coached 32 state qualifiers, including 11 place winners (2 state champions). The IWCOA named him the Class "A" Coach of the Year in 1983 and 1987. He was inducted into the IWCOA Hall of Fame following his retirement.
Mr. Tim Haak became Harvard’s 5th head coach in 1987. In 27 seasons his teams have won 26 Regional Championships, qualified for the IHSA State Dual Team Tournament 12 times, including 1 third place finish, 3 second place finishes and a State Championship in 1992. Among his 102 state qualifiers, he has coached 39 state medal winners including 10 individual state champions. Coach Haak was named the IWCOA Class "A" Coach of the Year in 1992. He was inducted into the IWCOA Hall of Fame in the spring of 2001. In 2013 Tim was honored as a Grand Marshall of the IHSA State Championships.
Harvards First Team, 1959
Little Tid Bids of Harvard Wrestling History
To date Harvard has won 999 dual meets. Second best in Illinois.
We have won the Regional/District championship 39 times.
We have qualified for the IHSA Dual Team State 12 times since it began 25 years ago.
We have had 152 Individual State Qualifiers.
We have had 59 Individual State Place winners including 12 Champions.
Harvard has had 5 individuals inducted into the IWCOA Wrestling Hall of Fame:
1. George Minot – Wrestler, Teacher in Harvard
2. John Sciacca – Coach
3. Richard Holtfreter – Coach
4. Tim Haak – Coach
5. Neil Schultz - Coach
IWCOA Scholastic Wrestler of the Year
In 1971 the IWCOA set out to honor the top scholastic wrestler in the state for not only their performance on the mat but also in the classroom. Only one wrestler was chosen each year for that honor. In 1983 the association began honoring two wrestlers, one in Class A and one in Class AA. Since the inception of this award only a few schools have had the distinction of having more than one athlete from their school win the award. Lisle H.S. and Sandwich H.S. claim second place as they have had three recipients over the years. Harvard Wrestlers have been honored as The Scholastic Wrestler of the Year FIVE times!
1. Jeff Putnam 1983
2. George Bednarczyk 1985
3. A.J. Bianchi 1998
4. David Schultz 2001
5. Dan Haeflinger 2005
Legendary Iowa Coach, Dan Gable being interviewed
by Mike Vest. Coach Gable spoke at the 50th
Anniversary of Harvard Wrestling, April 2009.
(Click the picture to view more 50th Anniversary of Harvard Wrestling Pictures)