He's built himself an extensive resume in the sport of wrestling, both as a competitor and coach.
Over the past 40 years, Tom Hontz has experienced success at the highest levels of high-school and collegiate competition. He's been a coaching fixture in Pennsylvania's District 1 for close to three decades - first at Upper Perkiomen, and currently at Pope John Paul II - with more than 300 victories to his credit.
He's also been enshrined in a number of Halls of Fame in recognition of his prolific involvement in the sport. Another honor will be presented Hontz when he's inducted into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame Sunday, May 19, 2019.
Hontz and nine other wrestling luminaries will be honored during a banquet and induction ceremonies in the State College area. The site for the event has been changed to the Mountainview Country Club in Boalsburg.
A 1985 graduate of Quakertown High School and a 1989 graduate of Duke University, Hontz was a four-year starter in wrestling at Quakertown, where he compiled a 111-11-2 career record. He was a four-time sectional champion, four-time District 1 finalist and two-time champion, a Southeast Regional champ and three-time PIAA Class AAA state qualifier. In 1985, Hontz was the first Quakertown state finalist in the PIAA state championships, dropping an 8-5 decision to Bethlehem Liberty's Gino Capuano in the 138-pound state finals.
At Duke, Hontz was a two-year starter and achieved all-ACC status in 1988. He fashioned a 41-18 record over his first two seasons and envisioned trips to nationals the next two years, but injuries changed his plans. Hontz's junior year, in which he finished 13-3, was shortened by shoulder surgery; and his senior season ended before it began due to a serious knee injury.
Hontz became the head wrestling coach at Upper Perkiomen High School in 1990. Serving in that capacity for 24 years, he led Upper Perk to 10 Pioneer Athletic Conference (PAC-10) championships, six District 1 Dual Tournament championships, nine Section II championships, five District 1 titles and five Southeast Regional championships.
In 2006, his team was the PIAA Class AAA Team Duals champion, and Hontz was named the PIAA Coach of the Year. In addition to the State Dual championship team, he had teams that finished in the top four in the state duals on five different occasions.
Hontz was named PAC's Coach of the Year 10 times, and District One Coach of the Year five times. His overall record at Upper Perkiomen was 341-184-1, and he coached 71 sectional champs, 29 district champs, 18 regional champs and 23 state medalists, including four state champions.
In 2014, Hontz resigned as the wrestling coach and took on the role of head football coach at Upper Perkiomen. He returned to the area's coaching fraternity in 2016, taking over the mat program at Pope John Paul II High School.
Hontz will be enshrined in the PWCA Hall alongside Tom Best Jr., who wrestled at District 4's Williamsport High; Tom Best Sr., a coach at Parkland and Williamsport for approximately a quarter-century; Tom Bold, who wrestled scholastically at Bethlehem Catholic (Class of 1979) and collegiately at Lehigh University (Class of 1984) and Vince DeAugustine, a wrestler and coach at Hempfield High who later headed the mat program at Norwin High.
Other wrestler inductees are Charles "Charlie" Griffin (Reading High Class of 2004, Hofstra University Class of 2008), Bruce Haselrig (Johnstown High Class of 1962, Indiana University of Pa. Class of 1966), Greg Jones (Greensburg Salem High Class of 2000, West Virginia University Class of 2005), Floyd Marshall (Burgettstown High Class of 1960, Findlay (Ohio) College Class of 1965) and Tom Tomeo (Grove City High Class of 1993, Clarion University of Pa. Class of 1998).
The event will begin at 12:30 p.m. on the 19th with a hospitality hour, followed by the banquet at 1:30 p.m. and induction of new members at 2:30 p.m.
As has been the case the past 10 years, the official ceremonies will be held separate from the PIAA State Wrestling Championships. Inductees will, however, be named and recognized in the PIAA State Tournament program.
Tickets to attend the Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremonies can be obtained by contacting Hall of Fame chairman Gene Waas (phone 610-428-4686) or by mail (1604 Riegel Street, Hellertown, Pa. 18055). Tickets cost $35 and can be reserved for pickup at the registration table at the Ramada Inn on April 8.
The PWCA Class of 2019 marks the 50th consecutive year the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association has inducted a class of deserving individuals. The Hall of Fame committee will be inviting all past Hall of Fame members to this year's event to commemorate the 50th anniversary celebration.