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Letters steps down at Clarion; Ferraro named interim coach
From Clarion University:
Clarion University Athletic Director Dave Katis announced today that wrestling coach Troy Letters has stepped down from his post and that Keith Ferraro, Clarion’s Assistant Coach the past two seasons, has been named Interim Head Coach.
A search will begin to fill the position of assistant coach.
“Troy has accepted a job in the private sector and has stepped down as head coach,” said Katis. “We thank Troy for his hard work and dedication to Clarion wrestling and wish him well in his future.
“I am also excited to announce that assistant coach Keith Ferraro has been named Interim Head Coach and will lead our program,” continued Clarion’s A.D. “We have been impressed with Keith’s work over the past two seasons as a recruiter, coach and administrator. He has strong leadership skills and knows what this programs goals and objectives are, and believe we are fortunate to have him leading our program. Clarion is committed to a strong, competitive NCAA Division I Wrestling program.”
“I am truly honored to be named the interim head wrestling coach at Clarion University and look forward to the challenges that await me this season,” said Ferraro. “The Clarion wrestling family is made up of the finest fans and supporters that wrestling has to offer. The commitment from our alumni and fans is an absolutely critical component as we pursue the success and greatness that the program is known for. Our current team is made up of a very young, but talented group. I believe its an exciting time to take the helm of such a storied program. I wish coach Letters the best in his new career and want to thank him for his guidance and support over the past two seasons.”
Ferraro, 33, the son of legendary Brookville Head Wrestling coach Lenny Ferraro, is a native of Brookville, Pa. and a 1999 Brookville High Grad. He wrestled 2 ½ years for his father, before his passing, and then finished his junior and then senior year under head coach Thad Turner. At Brookville Ferraro was a three-time District Champion 112-Fr.; 125-So.; 135-Sr.) and was part of the 1999 Brookville High School Dual Meet State Championship Team.
Keith went on to attend Lock Haven University, was part of the wrestling program for four seasons (2000 – 2003) and graduated in December of 2003 with a degree in Health and Physical Education. A volunteer coach at Central Mountain in the seasons of 2003 and 2004, Ferraro was the head coach at Brockway in the 2005 season, then took a position to teach at Brookville High School and became the assistant coach under Dave Klepfer since 2006. In the 2011-12 season Brookville advanced 13 wrestlers to regionals, 5 to the PIAA Championships and as a team placed fourth in the state dual meet championships.
Ferraro and wife Meghan reside in Brookville with sons Lenny and Vincent.
Letters, who came to Clarion from Penn State and was an assistant for the 2011-12 season, was Clarion’s head coach the last two seasons (2013, 2014). The Golden Eagles had a 9-15 dual meet record, placed 4th at PSAC’s, 6th at EWL’s and 40th at NCAA Division I Nationals. The 2013 Eagles were 5-10 in duals, second at PSAC’s and 4th at EWL’s and 33rd at nationals, with James Fleming placing 8th at nationals. Letters was a 2006 graduate of Lehigh, an NCAA D-I National Champ there in 2004 and a 2001 graduate of Shaler High.
“I would like to thank Clarion University, especially Dr. Whitney and Dave Katis, as well as the Clarion Alumni, Pin Club and fans for the wonderful opportunity I had being able to coach this historic program,” said Letters. “I have decided to step down as the head wrestling coach for an opportunity outside of wrestling. I will always remain a Clarion wrestling fan and supporter! I will miss the wrestlers, but look forward to watching them grow as student athletes and develop their futures.”
CLARION WRESTLING NOTES: Keith Ferraro’s father, Lenny Ferraro, was posthumously inducted into the PA. Wrestling in the Class of 2011 … He was 86-55-4 at Johnsonburg High as head coach from 1974 – 1983. He was District 9 Class AA Coach of the Year in 1979 … Moved on to Brookville and assisted Les Turner until 1993 – then took over at Brookville in 1994 … He was 66-11 at Brookville and won two District 9 titles … He passed away in January of 1998 … Ferraro is only the (8th) head coach at NCAA Division I Clarion since 1960. Frank Lignelli re-started the wrestling program in the Fall of 1959 and coached through 1966. Bob Bubb elevated the program to elite NCAA Division I status as head coach from 1967- 92, while Jack Davis mentored from 1993-97, Ken Nellis from 1998-2006. Teague Moore from 2007 – 2011, Matt Dernlan in 2012 and Troy Letters in 2013 and 2014… In dual meet history the Golden Eagles are 530-348-13 over that time… The program was re-started in the 1959-60 season under head coach Frank Lignelli … Lignelli was the coach from 1960-66 with a record of 61-12… He passed the torch to Bob Bubb, who from 1966-92, put Clarion wrestling on the national stage… Bubb had a career record of 322-121-4 … Bubb led Clarion to a 4th place team finish at D-I nationals in 1973, sixth in 1972 and 87 and eighth in 1992, his final season… Bubb coached 7 D-I champions, 3 college division champs, 27 All-Americans, 29 EWL winners and 68 PSAC champs … Bubb will be remembered for two special athletes, namely Wade Schalles and Kurt Angle… Both were named to the NCAA/NWCA 75th Anniversary Team in March of 2005… Schalles had an amazing career record of 153-5-1, won 2 NCAA titles and posted an NCAA record 106 pins … Angle also was a 2-time NCAA D-I Champion, posted a record of 116-10-2 and also won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1996 … On June 4, 2005, Bubb was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma …. Jack Davis was Clarion’s head coach from 1993-97 with a record of 43-34-5, Nellis (47-89-3; 1998-2006), and Moore (37-60-1)… Clarion has 8 D-I National Champions, 45 All-Americans, 54 EWL winners and 112 PSAC Champions… That also includes 14 PSAC and 3 EWL team titles…. In 2011 Clarion won the PSAC team title, placed fourth at EWL’s and qualified two wrestlers to the NCAA Division I Nationals in 157-lb James Fleming (West Mifflin) and 165-lb Bekzod Abdurakhmonov (Tashkent, Uzbekistan)… In 2012 Clarion was third at PSAC’s, fourth at EWL’s and 18th at the NCAA Division I National Championships… Clarion had 2 D-I All-Americans in 2012 when Abdurakhmonov, a senior, finished third at 165-pounds, and Fleming, a junior, finished fifth at 157-pounds… Fleming became a two-time All-American in 2013 when he finished 8th at nationals – giving Clarion a 33rd place team finish.