John Bianchi: The Roar of a Lion, the Heart of a Lamb

John Bianchi-1When longtime educator, coach and official John Bianchi passed away in August at age 74, the sport of wrestling lost a true friend.

As the dearly beloved husband of Dottie and dad to Cyrene Kafer and Vince Bianchi, John was a devoted family man who loved his wife, children and grandchildren.

He was also greatly admired and now missed as a dedicated professional who shared his personal standards of excellence with the schools he served and the athletes he coached and officiated.

Bianchi started his athletic career wrestling for legendary coach Gene Gibbons as a student at John Marshall (‘59).

From 1963 to 1970, he coached for John Adams, taking a program that was at the bottom of the old Cleveland Senate Conferences to mold championship squads. His teams were 4-time East Senate Champions during that period.

“I was on John’s first wrestling team in 1963 when he was first out of college,” said Joe Scaletta, coach of the Bay High 1972 state championship wrestling team. “He had the roar of a lion but the heart of a lamb. He was just a great guy. He took the team I was on and turned it into a winner. The school was the doormat of the Senate and he turned us into champions.”

Bianchi went on to coach North Ridgeville from 1970 to 1973, where he produced a Lakeland Conference and sectional championship team.

From there, his interests moved to officiating. From 1973 to 1988 he was an official for the OHSAA and NCAA. He was the Greater Cleveland Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association (GCWCOA) Official Of The Year from 78 to 79.

Bianchi served as Superintendent of Avon Schools from 1991 to 1999 when he retired. He was also inducted into the Ohio Wrestling Hall Of Fame in 1995, not just as an Official or Coach but with full honors.

“From teacher to wrestling coach to superintendent, wherever he went he was successful,” said Scaletta.

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