Miluk resigns as Greenbrier East wrestling coach

Brad Davis/The Register-HeraldGreenbrier East head wrestling coach Brian Miluk points to friends and family in the stands after being presented the 2018-19 National Federation Coaches Association of the Year Award for outstanding service and unselfish devotion to interscholastic activities prior to the night session at the 73rd annual state wrestling tournament Feb. 28 in Huntington.

Brian Miluk's wife knew what would happen before it happened.

A veteran wrestling coach in Ohio, Miluk came to Greenbrier East and served as the school's athletic director. When the opportunity to help out with the Spartans wrestling program opened up, he presented the idea to his wife, Gail.

"She said, 'You don't know how to help out just a little bit,'" Miluk said, laughing.

She was right. Miluk eventually became the head coach in 2012 and helped take the program to new heights. The Spartans won two regional championships and had dozens of state tournament qualifiers under his watch.

Now it's someone else's turn. Miluk turned in his resignation this week after eight seasons.

Miluk said there wasn't one specific reason for his decision.

"We've had time to think during this quarantine," Miluk said. "I did my Ben Franklin thing, with the pros and the cons. What makes it tough is I love it. I love the kids and I love the camaraderie of the coaches."

Miluk certainly made his presence known among his peers. It was important to him for everyone to view the Greenbrier East program as one of class and integrity.

One of the ways to that end was building a facility Miluk considers to be among the best on the East Coast. Another was his attention to making sure every one of his wrestlers went through the process of applying and getting accepted to college or armed forces.

"That's the most important. That means a lot to me," Miluk said. "My assistant coach Tracy Asbury, that's his job. He walks them through the FAFSA. He makes sure they get letters of recommendation. He makes sure they apply. We've had kids that say, 'I'm not going to college.' Yet we tell them, 'You know what, you're going to apply. You might have a kid in 20 years who wants to go to college and you're like, 'That's a big process.' No, you've done it. You've been accepted.' So they do that.

"The majority of them went to college and some didn't. But they went on either to the military or trade school. I'm pretty proud of that, that's for darn sure."

But there was also plenty of success on the mat.

Greenbrier East qualified 75 wrestlers for the state tournament during Miluk's tenure, 22 of them as regional champions. Fourteen Spartan wrestlers left Huntington as state place winners.

East got over the hump in 2017 when it won the first of two consecutive Class AAA Region 3 championships. The Spartans set program records that season with 13 state qualifiers and four regional champions.

Their most successful season came in 2018, when they sent one fewer wrestler to Huntington but broke their regional champion record with five. They wrapped up the state tournament with a program-best four place winners and finished ninth, also a standard for the program.

"That was a big plus," Miluk said. "I used to use this quote: It took Greenbrier East 30 years to get three regional champions. We did that in one afternoon. And then we won the region and then won it again. So I think we're a name to be reckoned with now."

Miluk was presented the 2018-19 National Federation Coaches Association Coach of the Year Award at the state tournament in February.

Miluk will be spending time with his daughters in South Carolina this winter, but plans to still be involved with wrestling. He especially is looking forward to continuing as director of the West Virginia State Duals at The Greenbrier. The second annual event is scheduled for Feb. 6, 2021.

Above all, Miluk will miss the interaction with the wrestlers, families and community.

"We've been blessed to bring in tremendous champions (as guest speakers) to come in and influence these kids," Miluk said. "We have community leaders come in and talk to our kids. That's the kind of stuff I'm going to miss, being able to guide these kids."

Email: gfauber@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @GaryFauber

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