Josh Deputy knows he has big shoes to fill and high expectations to maintain.
Other than stepping over to the main chair, Deputy believes it will be business as usual at Chestnut Ridge. The veteran Lion assistant was named the new head wrestling coach during Tuesday night’s school board meeting.
Deputy takes over for Greg Lazor, who stepped down two months ago after a highly successful 11-year tenure that saw the Lions place three times in the state team duals and crown two individual state champions among other accomplishments.
“It will be very hard to replace someone like Greg,” said Deputy. “He’s one of a kind and one of the most genuine people I have ever met. Our coaching staff has been a very tight knit group that enjoys working together, and I know he won’t be able to stay away too much.”
While Lazor received the majority of outside accolades, Deputy and fellow assistants Scott McGill, Pat Berzonski, Brian Gibbons, Tyler Dibert, and Dan Albright have all had their part in Chestnut Ridge’s success.
“Greg has always let us coach to our own strengths, and he allowed me to do a lot of things,” said Deputy. “We all had our roles and we all did our thing so it really doesn’t feel that much different. I am lucky to have the rest of the staff coming back and that will help keep things moving forward.”
Deputy shares a lot of the same coaching philosophy of Lazor, who made several upgrades that elevated Chestnut Ridge from a strong local team to one that’s among the top Class AA programs statewide.
“Not much is going to change in how we operate,” he said. “I feel our schedule and seeking out the best competition is why we are where we are. Also, the support from our administration and community has added to our success. Without administrative support, success is very hard to come by in small schools.”
In November when official practices for the 2019-20 season will begin, Deputy will inherit a team that is coming off back-to-back third place state duals finishes. He’ll have a large nucleus of that squad back, including individual state medalists Kai Burkett and Nate Holderbaum.
Deputy, who previously coached at Everett before joining Lazor’s staff, looks forward to getting started.
“I have been blessed for many years being surrounded by great coaches in our area,” he said. “Glenn Burket and Joel Easter had a big influence on me in always wanting to be a coach. And then being under Greg, I feel I am ready to take the reigns and lead this program.
“We have graduated a lot of great wrestlers lately, but I accept the challenge and know with our staff, we can continue to raise the level of our kids.”