One of the most accomplished matmen in the illustrious St. John Central wrestling history is walking across Guernsey Street to rebuild a sagging program.
Mick Nicola, a state mat runnerup for the Fighting Irish, has been selected as the head wrestling coach at Bellaire High. Nicola brings a well-stocked resume of success to his first head coaching assignment.
Nicola, a 2006 SJC graduate, was state runnerup at 145 pounds as a senior while placing fourth as a junior. He was a three-time state qualifier.
The new Big Reds' mat boss also experienced great success in the OVAC tournament. He captured two titles while placing second and third the other two years.
"I am excited about being selected for this position, especially at my age (26)," Nicola noted. "I look forward to this leadership role and start building toward a state championship. I want to thank the Bellaire administration and board of education for having the faith in me to get me this opportunity.
"But we have a lot of work to do," he added. "I want to get more kids off the streets and into our program and help them with life as well."
After graduating from St. John's, Nicola headed to Ashland University. He wrestled one year for the Purple Eagles before transferring to Ohio University for his final three years.
He comes to the Big Reds after serving two years as an assistant at Union Local. Nicola is still putting together his staff.
"I don't know who we have coming back this year. I believe we have a couple of seniors to build around," he said. "But one thing we are going to focus on is the peewee and junior high programs. They will be the foundation on which we build our high school program."
While at St. John's, Nicola also starred in football, starting for three years. He helped lead the Irish to a 6-4 record his senior season for Geno Polsinelli.
Nicola resides in West Bellaire and operates his own construction company - Diamond One. He has a daughter, Journey Jo Nicola. She turns 5 this month.
Kapral may be reached at email@example.com