Tony Vorndran is leading the Schalick High School wrestling program back to the mat.
The Millville native was approved as the head wrestling coach for the Cougars by the Pittsgrove Board of Education on Thursday, according to Schalick Athletic Director Mike Clarke.
“I’m really looking forward to this opportunity, it fulfills a passion of mine,” he said. “I can’t wait to get started.”
Vorndran takes over the program that was disbanded by the BOE in the wake of hazing allegations last winter. Four wrestlers were charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy and other offenses during an incident at the school in December.
Vorndran is a special education teacher in the district at the middle school level.
While he didn’t start wrestling until high school, Vorndran was a three-year starter on varsity at Millville High. He returned as an assistant coach for two years under Scott Stay and one season under Jason Bilinski. He also played soccer during his scholastic days with the Thunderbolts.
“In our short time together at Millville, he was so vital in building our program and working towards it being successful,” Bilinski said of Vorndran. “I was spoiled because he was like a second head coach. The kids all respected him and he was always willing to put in the extra work to make the program successful. I have no doubt he will bring nothing but great things to that program.”
While he got a late start as a wrestler, he finds himself with an early beginning as a 28-year-old head coach.
“We’re looking to build hard-working kids and solid student-athletes, that’s the goal,” Vorndran said. “The rest will fall into place.”
Vorndran was a standout student in college, wrestling his final two years at East Stroudsburg University after competing in soccer and wrestling at the Division III level. He was recognized as the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference’s “Champion Scholar” in 2013.
“He’s a guy that started the sport when he was in high school and grinded for everything he earned, it’s that type of work ethic that carried him far in the sport and I believe will make him a successful coach,” Clarke said. “He’s calm, organized and he’s a guy that I can see leading this program for a very long time.”
Clarke said there will be sign-ups for the team in October.
Schalick went 17-7 during the last full season on the mat under coach Mike Cullen in 2017-18. Cullen was suspended as coach in December following the hazing incident.
Tom McGurk is a regional sports reporter for the Courier-Post and The Daily Journal, covering South Jersey sports for over 30 years. If you have a sports story that needs to be told, contact him at (856) 486-2420 or email email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @McGurkSports. Help support local journalism with a Courier Post subscription.