By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
The “Getting to Know” series is designed to help the community learn more about the coaches and administrators that are guiding today’s Portage County student-athletes to be tomorrow’s leaders.
Today, we get to know Crestwood High School wrestling head coach Dave Wrobel, who is in his 22nd year guiding the Red Devils’ program.
Q: What schools did you attend growing up?
A: St. Rita Elementary (Solon), Cleveland Benedictine High School (freshman), Bedford Chanel High School (sophomore, junior and senior). Class of 1995. I played football and wrestled all four years; played baseball as a freshman.
A: Kent State University (Class of 2000); wrestled for a few years. Bachelor of Science in Education degree; Cleveland State University for Master’s Degree in Administration in 2008.
Q: Current occupation?
A: Social Studies teacher at Crestwood High School (22nd year).
Q: What inspired you to be a coach?
A: I always enjoyed sports as a kid and wanted to stay active in sports, too. Plus, it was a good opportunity to teach outside of the classroom to a group of kids that had the same passion I had.
Q: What makes being a coach at a Crestwood special to you?
A: It’s a great community, and I truly enjoy the type of student-athlete Crestwood has to offer. They are all good kids that are eager to learn and get better.
Q: Who has been your biggest influence or mentor?
A: My father. He always took time with us after work (he taught in Cleveland for 35 years). He was my first coach,j so he passed his passions down to us in the weight room, football and baseball fields, etc. Ironically, he had no experience in wrestling, but he knew where to take us in order to get better. Besides my father, I would say Graham Coghill (my youth and high school wrestling coach at Chanel). He exemplified hard work and passed that characteristic down to his wrestlers.
Q: Funny story nobody would believe from your playing days?
A: If given the opportunity to quit wrestling in my youth, I would have. But my dad had me stick with it, and I grew to love the sport and it changed my life.
Q: Funny story nobody would believe from your coaching career?
A: Showing up to my first meet as head coach versus Southeast, not really knowing much about them and proceeding to lose 75-6. It was a humbling experience. I learned quickly who Southeast and Ralph Graham were and it would take me 10 years to finally defeat Southeast in a dual meet.
Q: Favorite TV show?
Q: Favorite movie?
A: Shawshank Redemption.
Q: Favorite musical artist?
Q: Favorite food/meal?
A: Veal parm.
Q: Best vacation?
A: The Bahamas.
Q: Favorite motto or quote?
A: “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me” and “Once you have wrestled, everything else in life is easier.”
Q: Describe your coaching philosophy?
A: Improving each and every day. Realizing it is not how you start the season, but how you finish the year.
Q: What does it mean to you to be a Red Devils student-athlete?
A: To be successful in the classroom, on the mat (or the field of play), as well as in the community.
Q: Favorite restaurant?
A: Outback Steakhouse or Farinacci’s Pizza.
Q: Favorite teacher from high school?
A: Wally Spisak (art).
Q: Advice you would give the younger you?
A: Enjoy the process and don’t take anything for granted. Be willing to work hard and do the little things and the extra things to make you better.
Q: Favorite coach from your playing days?
A: Graham Coghill (head wrestling coach) and Stan Kiec (baseball coach).
Q: Coaching resume?
A: Aurora JV softball coach (2000); Kenston Middle School football (2000-2001); Kenston Middle School wrestling (2000-2001); Kenston freshman softball (2000-2001); Crestwood High School wrestling coach (2001-present).
Q: Favorite sports team?
A: Ohio State football and wrestling.
Q: Favorite athlete then?
A: Bernie Kosar.
Q: Favorite athlete now?
A: Any of my children (Summer, JP and Autumn).
Q: First job as a teenager?
A: Taco Bell.
Q: Shoutout to former teammates?
A: Marco Berquist and Joey O’Neill.
Congratulations David! 👏👏🙏🏻🙏🏻
So proud of the husband, father and coach you have become. Good read too.