Chris Falcone will be taking over the wrestling program at Upper Merion Area High School this season.
Former head coach Tim Harner has a growing business and didn't feel like he could devote the necessary time to leading the wrestling team. He recommended switching roles with assistant coach Falcone to athletic director Mike Fabrizio. Fabrizio agreed and Falcone will officially be the head coach after the December 7th school board meeting.
"I am beyond honored and humbled that coach Tim Harner recommended me to take the head job due to his business growing which is not allowing him the flexibility and hours to devote to the head position and extremely grateful to the athletic director Mike Fabrizio and the district for giving me this chance," Falcone said.
"(Harner) knows how invested I am with the program itself as well as the youth program because I have two boys who wrestle in the youth program. He said this is a win-win for Upper Merion as well. You have a resident, somebody who's a teacher in the district as well who can grow the program. He thought it was a perfect fit and it worked out."
Falcone, a Bridgeport native currently living in King of Prussia, is the head coach of the Upper Merion Wrestling Club, a youth team for anyone ages 5-to-14. The West Chester University graduate is in his fifth year teaching health and physical education and his second year teaching in the Upper Merion Area School District.
As the Vikings head coach, Falcone plans to stress commitment to his wrestlers.
"A lot of wrestlers don't realize the commitment it takes," Falcone said. "They think it's just practice and show up and it's more than that. It's a sport that revolves around the clock even when practice is 'over.' You have to be committed, especially with how they're eating for making weight. I'm definitely stressing commitment but I'm also stressing a family atmosphere. Even though it's an individual sport, it's as much a team sport as an individual sport."
Falcone began wrestling when he was four-years-old and continued through high school. He wrestled for the Upper Merion Youth Wrestling Association as well as the West Norriton Golden Eagles. In high school, he qualified for districts three times before graduating from Upper Merion in 2004.
Falcone was an assistant at Upper Merion for the last five years. Harner, who Falcone has known since he was 10-years-old, will be staying on staff as an assistant coach.