Greg Urbas retired this past spring as head wrestling coach at St. Edward High School where in 29 years his Eagles won four national championships and 24 state championships. In addition to the team success Urbas coached 76 individual state champions.
In March, when Domenic Abounader advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA wrestling tournament, it marked the 35th consecutive year that the St. Edward program had produced at least one college All-American.
Born and raised in Collinwood, Urbas went to St. Mary grade school and then to St. Joseph High School where he played football and wrestled. After playing football for four years at Grove City College he served four years as a Marine Corps officer.
A math teacher during his entire career at St. Edward, Urbas will remain with St. Ed’s as a math tutor and also with the wrestling team in what they’re calling a “support capacity.”
John Heffernan, a former St. Edward state champion and college all-American at the University of Iowa, will succeed Urbas as head coach. He has been Urbas’ assistant coach since 1991.
“Actually, we’re changing titles but not the jobs,” Urbas said. “He has done the coaching alt these years and I’ve done the paper work.”
Urbas recalled that when his predecessor, Howard Ferguson, died suddenly in 1989, the wrestling staff pooled their thoughts and picked him to take over the head job. Greg had been an assistant coach for almost a decade.
“They said the assistant coaches would handle the coaching and I’d do the interviews,” Urbas said. “That’s the only difference from now on. I’ll do the paperwork but not the interviews.”
“Beyond his success as a coach and a teacher, Greg is a man of incredible character, integrity and wisdom,” said St. Edward president Jim Kubacki. “For a generation of students, he is the model for a life rooted in faith, the formation of genuine relationships, and a commitment to service.”