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Wrestling Coach Timothy Marzuola Reflects on Decades of Determination

As both a teacher and a coach, Marzuola’s unwavering work ethic inspires his students to be the best.
Photo by OS Keijsers Koning
Coach Timothy Marzuola advises wrestlers on technique during practice. Marzuola has coached the wrestling program for the last 41 years. “I [coach] because I see it as a tool to help boys become young successful men of great character and integrity,” Marzuola said.

Forty-one years ago, Timothy Marzuuola was hired to coach football, but instead he ended up building the high school wrestling program from the ground up.

“[I was starting the wrestling program] in a community that’s never experienced the sport before and never seen the sport before,” Marzuola said. “So there was a really significant learning curve, not just for kids who were coming out for the sport”

He began his career in Highland Park as the middle school head coach for football, and assistant coach for wrestling. In the beginning with a lack of wrestlers and a plethora of other athletes, Marzuola identified potential wrestlers on the football team.

“I hand picked about probably ten freshmen and at the last game that we had that year, I walked up to each of those ten kids separately and said, ‘I’ll see you Monday in the wrestling room.’ They replied I’m not a wrestler, coach.’ And I said, ‘well, you’re going to be’,” Marzuola said. “Some of those kids ended up being all state wrestlers and made the core of the foundation of the program. It’s their shoulders that all of the wrestlers stand upon.”

One of the reasons that Marzuola is passionate about the sport is the unique dedication that wrestling requires of each athlete. He believes it is the most demanding and difficult sport at the high school level.

“Our athletes have to have the toughness of a hockey player, even more than a football player. They have to have the endurance of a cross country runner, the flexibility of a gymnast and the attitude of a fighter.

Marzuola emphasizes the intensity of the sport, citing the mental and physical strain that his wrestlers must endure.

“Your body is being twisted and bent, and your arms and your joints are being taken into ranges of motion that you’ve never experienced before,” Marzuola said. “ This sport requires that you learn how to inflict pain and take it, so it’s different from most other sports when it comes to that.”

Marzuola’s sense of purpose and intense love for the sport sparks a strong-willed determination in the wrestling team. Senior wrestler Noah Morse says that he is often inspired by his coach’s unwavering goal of improvement.

“[I admire] his hard work, dedication and his attitude towards everything.” Morse said. “He pushes everyone in that room every single day, and his work ethic makes me want to work harder just from seeing what he’s doing day by day.”

Fostering a strong learning environment through this dedication allows Marzuola to encourage both his wrestling team and his students to improve.

“His [Marzuola’s] fire to win, to be the best, I like that.” Furgeson said. “I want to be the best. I don’t want to settle. He doesn’t want to settle for mediocrity, which I love.”

Despite the work posted by both of his jobs, Marzuola tries to ensure that he stays engaged with his role as a wrestling coach or his much different role as an economics teacher.

“It takes dedication to be invested in anything that you think is worthwhile. This is my 48th year in public education, and fortunately for me, it’s something that I enjoy doing and will continue to do until I am asked not to or I’m no longer very good at it,” Marzuola said. “But I still enjoy teaching, I still enjoy coaching and I still enjoy learning. If you’re going to be good at anything as a teacher, then you also have to be a learner.”

In addition to his focus on hardwork and dedication both as a teacher and a coach, Marzuola also works to foster strong relationships between his pupils.

“You don’t enforce teamwork, that’s an impossibility,” Marzuola said. “You encourage kids to work together. Wrestling is a different sport than other team sports because it’s both an individual sport and a team sport at the same time. So you’re expected to do the things that will make yourself better, but will also make your teammates better.

Although wrestling is a very mentally and physically taxing sport, each person on the team is a dedicated member. Marzuola has worked tirelessly to build the strength and resilience of the wrestling program, and continues to ensure that his athletes thrive in their future endeavors.

“I [coach] because I see it as a tool to help boys become young successful men of great character and integrity.” Marzuola said.

About the Contributor
OS Keijsers Koning
OS Keijsers Koning, Reporter
What are you looking forward to on the staff this year? Expanding my writing skills and hanging out with the Newspaper staff. What are your favorite TV shows/movies? Knives Out and New Girl What are your hobbies? Running, archery, and my writing internship with DONE Magazine