Wrestling coach DeAugustine leaves Hempfield for Norwin

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018 | 8:36 PM


Vince DeAugustine said it was one of the toughest decisions he's had to make, resigning as Hempfield's wrestling coach and taking over at Norwin.

DeAugustine accepted the Norwin position Monday, leaving a program he's coached for the past 13 seasons.

“I have bled nothing but Royal Blue and Silver my entire life,” DeAugustine said. “Walking away from the school I love is one of the hardest decisions I have ever made.

“However, the lack of leadership in the athletic department was too much. I love the kids and will miss them greatly, but I had to stand up for what I believe in.”

DeAugustine said there were a number of reasons why he had to leave. One was the highly-publicized incident over a wrestler's eligibility that cost Hempfield a trip to the WPIAL semifinals.

Hempfield won a quarterfinal-round match against Seneca Valley last season after school officials told DeAugustine it was OK to use a wrestler. The next day those same officials, after checking on PIAA eligibility rules, turned themselves in for using an ineligible wrestler which denied the team a trip to the semifinals and a possible PIAA tournament berth.

DeAugustine was disappointed the team was penalized for the school's mistake.

There were also other issues that occurred, which DeAugustine called “embarrassing.” Among them were the school board's decision to cut assistant coaches in all sports, raising the cost to participate in athletics and the possibility of cutting freshmen programs.

“I left the program in great shape as the team returns three state qualifiers,” DeAugustine said. “I will never hang my head for what I accomplished at Hempfield.”

DeAugustine compiled a 218-52 record. He coached six state champions, two runners-up, 12 WPIAL champions, 39 state qualifiers, 28 state placewinners and had 34 section champions.

Hempfield won its only WPIAL team title in 2007 and was a two-time PIAA placewinner.

He helped student-athletes obtain more than $2.3 million in scholarship money and sent wrestlers to John Hopkins, West Point, Duke, Penn State and Virginia.

“We definitely feel fortunate to get Vince,” Norwin athletic director Brandon Rapp said. “There is a lot to like beyond his accomplishments. Look at what he's done; his record speaks for itself.

“We looked at the total program he has run and what he's done on and off the mat. Look at how much the wrestlers love wrestling for him. I believe our program and wrestling community will benefit from having him.”

DeAugustine takes over a program that hasn't had much success as a team in recent seasons and has never had a state champion.

“I am extremely excited to start a new chapter in my coaching career,” said DeAugustine, who replaces Brandon Miller at Norwin. “Norwin has great tradition and excellent fans that want to support a winning program. I will work extremely hard to build them into a perennial powerhouse.

“It will be an absolute pleasure working for Mr. Rapp, as well as the administration. I look forward to bringing the Knights their first of many state champions.”

Sophomore Kurtis Phipps and his older brother Drew, now at Bucknell, were PIAA runners-up.

“I wish Vince good luck in his new endeavor,” Hempfield athletic director Greg Meisner said.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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