South Xtra: Former assistant to run Char-Houston wrestling team

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Bill Sutton considered coaching another year or two at Chartiers-Houston High School, but felt it was more important to follow his son's college wrestling career.

"I had planned to coach at least another year, but changed my mind after the [2012-13] season ended," said Sutton, a Chartiers-Houston alumnus who has been coaching at his alma mater for more than 20 years. "I just didn't want to miss Tanner's college career."

Jeff Havelka, a member of Sutton's coaching staff, was hired as his replacement.

"I was Jimmy Vulcano's assistant for more than 10 years before I took over as head coach," said Sutton, who compiled an impressive 117-68 record in 10 seasons as the Buccaneers head coach.

"We qualified for the WPIAL Team Tournament in eight of my 10 seasons, won three section titles, and placed second in the section twice. We even qualified for the state tournament twice. I'm very proud of that."

Sutton also wanted to follow his daughter, Haley, who is now a senior at Chartiers-Houston.

"Haley plays softball and is a cheerleader," Sutton said. "She also barrel races on horses. And she's very good at it. She's placed as high as eighth in the state."

Tanner Sutton was a four-year starter for the Buccaneers. He was a three-time PIAA qualifier who finished with a 142-31 career record, which ranks second in school history for victories.

"Tanner is now a freshman at Lock Haven University," Bill Sutton said. "He's supposed to redshirt this year, but I can still follow him in open tournaments."

Sutton changed his mind about retirement after Havelka and Garett Johnston joined his coaching staff last season.

"Jeff is the son of Burgettstown coach Terry Havelka, so coaching runs in his family," Sutton said. "Garett is a West Greene graduate. Both did a great job last year as my assistants. The kids really liked them, so the transition should go very smooth. And both work at Chartiers-Houston. That's even better."

Jeff Havelka was a four-year starter at Burgettstown who qualified for the PIAA tournament twice and finished with a 119-49 career record. Johnston had a 126-45 record in his four years as a starter at West Greene.

"Garett and I shared a varsity coaching position last year," Havelka said. "I'm working as a physical education teacher at the high school. Garett is a math teacher in the district. It's great that we both work at the high school. I'm really looking forward to the upcoming season."

Havelka is a 2010 graduate of Finley College.

"I graduated with a degreee in health and physical education," Havelka said. "I also have a master's degree in special education from Waynesburg [in 2012]. I was also a graduate assistant coach for two years at Waynesburg."

Havelka decided to go into teaching and coaching after a conversation with his dad.

"When I talked with my dad about my future, he recommended that I try teaching and coaching," Havelka said. "It's worked very well for him, so I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I took his advice."

Having worked with the Char-Houston student-athletes last season, Havelka is very familiar with the program.

"Most of [the wrestlers in] our upper weights have graduated, so we have a lot of holes to fill," Havelka said. "We also have to get more participation with our youth and junior high programs."

Although Sutton has stepped down as head coach, he's not completely out of the picture.

"I will be helping Jeff with the Chartiers-Houston Tournament," Sutton said. "And I may stop in at practice every once in a while."

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