After resigning as wrestling coach at Hilliard Davidson High School on March 26, Dominic DiSabato received an outpouring of positive responses via social media, texts and phone calls.
Among the messages that touched the veteran coach the most was a one-word post by his son, Gio, on Twitter: Legend.
“That means more than anything to me,” said Dominic, who coached the Wildcats for 19 seasons. “That was probably the best response I could ask for.”
Gio, a four-time state placer who has committed to Ohio University, has the most wins in program history, finishing with a career record of 189-20.
“To have my dad as a coach was special,” Gio said. “He was always by my side and taught me so many things not only involving wrestling but life. He’s forever my mentor and I couldn’t thank him enough for what he’s done for me and the wrestling program. He’s a legend in the sport and I’m proud to be a DiSabato because of him.”
Dominic said he plans to follow his son at the collegiate level and also watch his freshman daughter, Mia, participate in cheerleading at Davidson.
“One of the things that we’re proud of is we’ve done things the right way here,” said Dominic, who will remain with the school as a health and physical education teacher. “We care about the kids and we’ve always put the kids’ interests first and we’ve been fair with them. It’s not all about wins and losses.”
Dominic also was a standout competitor. A 1991 graduate of Ready, he won three state championships and also was a state runner-up.
His older son, Angelo, was a two-time state placer and four-time state qualifier. Angelo closed his prep career with a 167-23 record, making him second in wins in program history.
“That’s pretty special,” Dominic said of coaching his sons. “There are a handful (of coaches) out there who have done it, guys who have been able to sit in their son’s corner. That is pretty special, but when you have two wrestlers like those guys who have placed in the state tournament and qualified four times, and I got to sit in for every one of their matches.”
Under Dominic, the Wildcats won seven OCC titles and one district championship, posted two top-seven team finishes at state and had 24 state placers, including two state champions in Chase Delande (145 pounds in 2011) and Travis Gusan (heavyweight in 2013) as well as five state runners-up.
“Coach DiSabato has logged countless hours and has dedicated a majority of his life to the sport of wrestling and the wrestlers he has been able to coach throughout his years at Hilliard Davidson,” athletics director Nathan Bobek said. “I can’t thank him enough for all his time, effort and dedication he has given to our athletic department.”
Dominic said he will continue as president of the Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association and could return to coaching someday.