It was just a few years ago when a young student was anxious to engage Jamie Milkovich in conversation. He asked how it felt to be a millionaire, the result of “owning” the Maple Heights school that the teen assumed was named in Milkovich’s honor. He was quickly corrected. Milkovich Middle School in Maple Heights is not named for Jamie, but for Mike Milkovich, Jamie’s uncle and the founding father of the city’s scholastic wrestling dynasty that includes 10 state championships.
Jamie Milkovich may not be a millionaire, but he’s rich, very rich, in qualities such as dedication, respect for tradition and accomplishment.
What Uncle Mike started in the 1950’s, Jamie has carried forth for more than three decades inside and outside the Mustangs wrestling room. Milkovich, a Buckeye state champion in his senior year at Maple Heights High at 145 pounds in 1977, eclipsed his personal mat triumphs by taking the reins of the school’s wrestling program in 1981. He’s yet to let them go. This winter, Milkovich will mark his 35th year as head coach of the Mustangs.
Jamie has made the most of his time in charge. He has won 434 dual matches, making him Ohio’s all-time winningest Division I head coach. Milkovich has qualified 94 wrestlers for the annual state tournament, coached 50 of them to state placings, including 21 semi-finalists and nine champions. He joins three other members of the Milkovich family in the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame, former head coach Mike Milkovich and cousins and fellow Mustang mat standouts Patrick and Tom Milkovich.
Jamie has spent his entire life involved in Maple Heights wrestling, with the exception of his four years at Auburn where he was a two-time All-American (1980-81) and set the university’s record for career victories with 98.
Milkovich returned home to become Maple Heights’ head wrestling coach at the age of 22 in 1981. His accomplishments have not been overlooked by city officials. In 2013, June 19 was proclaimed “Jamie Milkovich Day” in Maple Heights. Also in 2013, he was named Maple Heights Citizen of the Year.