Cumberland Valley head wrestling coach Dave Heckard announced Wednesday he is retiring after 17 years leading the program.
The decision comes just weeks after the end of the 2020-21 wrestling season where 215-pounder Jake Lucas finally won his state crown.
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunities provided to me by Cumberland Valley High School. CV is a great place to coach with outstanding support,” Heckard said in a statement sent out by the school district. “In my 17 years as the head wrestling coach, I have met a lot of outstanding parents, wrestlers and coaches who have impacted and supported me along the way of which I am thankful.”
Heckard's teams racked up a record of 272-84 in those 17 years, earning him the title of the school’s winningest wrestling coach. Under his watch, CV wrestling produced four PIAA Class 3A champions, 55 sectional champions, 23 District 3/southcentral regional champions, 28 state medalists and 62 state qualifiers.
His teams qualified for the District 3 team tournament 16 times and produced five District 3 titles. Out of 17 seasons, his teams also qualified for states 14 times with two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a fourth-place finish.
In 1996, Heckard captured his own state wrestling title as a senior at CV. That same year, he graduated from CV and attended Villanova University where he played football. He also wrestled at Penn State for one year.
Upon graduating college he returned to the Cumberland Valley School District to teach social studies. He also joined the wrestling program as an assistant coach.
“I am extremely proud of where Cumberland Valley is at as a program. We have a dedicated group of parents and wrestlers who will make the transition very smooth for the next coach,” Heckard said. “I have learned a lot through my years as a coach, but what I have learned the most in the past few years is that family comes first … being a good person, a good son, a good father and a good husband is really all that matters in the end.
"Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way.”
The school district said it will begin a search for a new coach in the coming weeks.
“Coach Heckard has been involved in wrestling his entire life, both as a wrestler and as a coach," CV athletic director Mike Craig said. "He was a PIAA champion at CV and has coached numerous outstanding wrestlers and championship teams at CV. But more importantly, coach Heckard developed great relationships with his athletes, which at the end of the day is what really matters.
"Any one of his former wrestlers could call him today and count on him for his help with anything in their lives. I just want to thank him and his family for their dedication to the CV wrestling program.”
Photos: CV wrestling coach Dave Heckard
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