The Gettysburg and Lock Haven graduate won a PIAA title in 1995.
The Upper Adams School District approved a former state champion to take charge of the Biglerville High School wrestling program during Tuesday's board meeting.
Ken Haines, who went 29-0 and won the PIAA 189-pound championship for Gettysburg in 1995, will replace Nate Becker as the Canners' wrestling coach. Haines wrestled in college for Division I Lock Haven University, where he won an Eastern Wrestling League title at 197 pounds in 1999. Since returning to Adams County, he's been an assistant coach at Gettysburg High School and Gettysburg College and a coach at Fairfield High School.
“Biglerville has always had really good wrestling," Haines said. "We’re not looking to come in and make a bunch of changes or anything like that. We’re just looking to keep the same success and try some new things here and there and see how they work.”
Haines has been a coach with the Biglerville Youth Wrestling Club, a club independent from the school district that is open to children in kindergarten through sixth grades, for three years. When the high school coaching position opened, the club initiated a campaign to show support for Haines. A note posted on the club's Facebook page on April 13 solicited parents and community members to write a "brief personalized recommendation letter" showing support.
"Some administrators aren't as familiar with Coach Ken as we are, they haven't seen him in action, per se," said Sonya Showers, who was the president of the Biglerville Youth Wrestling Club for nine years before recently leaving that post. "We wanted to show we were all behind him 100 percent. He’s had a great impact on our kids."
Upper Adams Supt. Wesley Doll said he did receive many letters supporting Haines.
“It’s not atypical to get letters or some comments about people who may be applying for any position in the district," Doll said. "But we did see a lot of the support within the community for a couple of the candidates that applied.”
Haines feels optimistic that continuity between the high school program and youth club will remain strong in the future.
“I just think it’s great for everybody to be on the same page working together as best as we can," he said. "Each program is kind of its own thing, but right now it seems like we’re all working together really well and have a lot of the same ideals. I know the coaches at the elementary level are really behind a lot of the ideals we’re using.”
Haines is also the older brother of Gettysburg High School coach Chris Haines, who runs the Haines Trained Wrestling Club in Ortanna.