It was Senior Day on February 16 when Loveland High School Head Wrestling Head Coach Chris Switzer was presented with pillows and a quilt made of tee-shirts that represented his 20 years of coaching. The gifts were made by wrestling parents.
Loveland, Ohio – Loveland High School (LHS) Wrestling Head Coach Chris Switzer has just finished his 20th season at Loveland. Returning from the 2019 District Championship on March 2, he reflected on the past season and his 20 years of coaching at Loveland:
“2018-19 was a good season overall. I’m very proud of the fact that we had a lot of obstacles to overcome, especially with injuries and illness, but the boys worked hard, adapted to the bumps in the road, competed well, and pulled together as a team. I am so proud of our seniors for their commitment over the past four years – they all left the Loveland Wrestling Program in a better place than it was four years ago.”
Born and raised in Loveland himself, Switzer made significant and lasting contributions to the wrestling program while in high school. He was a four-time District Qualifier, two-time District Champion, two-time State Qualifier, and a four-time finalist/ three-time Cincinnati Hills (CHL) League Champ, with a career record of 110-20-1. As a high school junior and senior, in 1993 and 1994 respectively, he was selected First Team for Cincinnati. He then went on to wrestle at the Mount St. Joseph University, where he ended up a four-time National Qualifier and a two-time Academic All-American wrestler.
“While still at LHS, I was asked what I wanted to do after college. My response was: ‘teach history at Loveland High School and be the head wrestling coach…’”
Switzer stayed true to his goals – he has now taught history and coached at Loveland since 1998. He became wrestling head coach at the beginning of the 2003-04 season, when Mike Rich retired from the position after 25 years.
Looking back over the years and the success of the program, a few highlights stand out: Switzer has coached his team to six league titles, won Sectionals in 2014 and placed second at Districts the same year. He also coached Loveland heavyweight wrestler Andrew Alten to a state title. But coaching is as much about reflecting on the challenges and understanding that you have to work hard and maintain your commitment to be successful. Wrestling is different by being a one-on-one sport and you have no one else to blame than yourself when things don’t go well. Even so, the importance of the team and its support can’t be overstated.
“It really does take a village – or in our case, a ‘family,’ – to make the wrestling program successful,” said Switzer. “Every year we run two home tournaments over one weekend, and we need lots of support to make that happen: table helpers, setting up and providing food for the hospitality room, moving heavy mats, etc. I am often humbled by everyone’s effort in pulling it all together.”
With a coaching philosophy of “work hard and everything will work itself out… No matter if you win or lose, walk off the mat the same way you walked on,” Switzer is dedicated to continuing to run the Loveland Wrestling Program. His commitment extends beyond the regular season to include attending all youth practices and, for the past 20 years, helping run the off-season Freestyle and Greco Club. He has also taken wrestlers to camp during the summer, including the renowned Jeff Jordan State Champ Camp, for just as long. And, the team works out on open mats and in the weight room for 11 out of the 12 months of the year.
“I am so honored to coach here at Loveland,” said Switzer. “It is such as big part of who I am. I love what I do, and can’t think of a better place to coach. I love the competition, the grind, the interactions, the friendships, the winning tradition, and the pride of being the head coach of the Loveland Wrestling Program. Hopefully, I have another 20 years left in me!”