WILKES-BARRE — It took Ned McGinley 48 years to decide not to coach the King’s College wrestling program anymore.
And it took the icon just three seasons of mentoring Adam Healey to realize that his replacement was right under his nose.
“Adam has the right demeanor to be a good coach. He has a good system with books. He writes down everything he does and is very organized,” McGinley said. “He has a good lesson plan. And right away it got my attention.”
On Wednesday, Healey was officially named McGinley’s replacement as the second wrestling coach in school history.
“I’ve always known that I wanted to coach wrestling probably since I was in seventh or eighth grade,” Healey said. “I didn’t exactly know how it would balance itself out. I’ve gotten to a point in my life where it works out and I’m just really excited that I’ve reached this step.”
While learning from McGinley, one of the all-time greats in the sport, is impressive on his resume, Healey sports many accolades in addition.
Healey, a native of Wilkes-Barre, graduated from Wyoming Seminary in 2008 finishing with 198 career wins. He then went on to become a three-time letter winner at Division I Bucknell. Following graduation from the Bison program, he earned a Master’s Degree from Wilkes while holding an assistant coaching position at Sem before McGinley lured him to be his top assistant at King’s.
“Two years ago I said to myself ‘this guy’s organized like I always was. He’s got all these things going for him and he’s just fired up. He’s just the guy we want,’” McGinley said. “It’s a continuation of things that were important to us.”
Being an assistant under the legendary McGinley for the last three seasons, Healey is ready for the task at hand of being just the second head coach in program history and replacing an icon who started the King’s team in 1968 and piled up 455 dual meet victories.
“It’s been amazing,” Healey said when asked about being mentored by McGinley. “For me as a young coach, it’s especially special that mentor is somebody that’s done it for so long, been successful, and at this point knows what it’s all about. And reminds me everyday of the importance I have in coaching.”
His tenure at the helm of the program starts similar to how it did at Wyoming Seminary as a youngster.
As a seventh-grader in the early part of this century with the Blue Knights, Healey entered the wrestling program when it was in rough shape and he called it “bad.”
By the time he graduated in 2008, the Blue Knights were one of the top prep wrestling programs in the nation and they remain there years later thanks to the help of many, including Healey who was part of the team’s jump-start turnaround under former coach John Gordon. In 2007, Sem started its current streak of 11 consecutive Pennsylvania Prep State championships.
Today, Healey is in a position of trying to help turn around the King’s College wrestling team. Not the doormat of the nation like Sem was when Healey was just getting involved, King’s is in much better shape, but the school hasn’t had a winning season since 2009-10.
And most of all, he wants to continue McGinley’s success of high graduation rate among student athletes, and to maintain being a top-ranked team nationally in terms of grade point average, which the Monarchs have done several times in the recent years.
“That’s goal No. 1,” Healey said about the academic awards. “Then after that, we want to continue to build success on the mat and continue to try to build our numbers.”
Healey’s first practices as head coach begin in two months, and the season gets underway Nov. 4 with the McGinley Invitational Tournament being held at King’s.