MILFORD, February 1, 2019 – Killingly High wrestling coach Rich Bowen became just the second coach in state history to lead his team to 600 victories Saturday when the Redmen won five matches to close out the regular season.
Killingly (26-2) beat No. 9 Foran, 44-30 along with Greenwich, 42-37, Notre Dame-West Haven, 60-15, Stratford, 81-0 and Amity, 47-13. It is the second most wins in a single season in team history. The Redmen went 31-2 a year ago.
Bowen, who has been coaching at Killingly since December 1986, has a career record of 600-177-2. The only other coach with more than 600 victories is Hall of Fame mentor Buster Jadach from Derby, who has a record of 612-267-5 with one more dual meet left on Wednesday.
Only three coaches have reached the 500 win plateau in the state – Jadach, Bowen and the late Jim Day.
“It’s been a great pleasure to coach at Killingly all of these years,” Bowen said. “I never thought I would ever come close to 600 wins when I started coaching many years ago. It doesn’t feel like I have been around that long to accomplish such a feat.”
Under Bowen, the Redmen have won five state championships, finished second five times and earned 11 top three finishes.
Killingly won the Class M championship in 2003 and added a pair of Class S titles in 2008 and 2009. His squads finished second in Class M four times (1996, 2002, 2004, 2018) and once in Class S (2016). Last year’s Killingly team finished in a three-way tie for second place at the State Open – their best finish at that tournament.
“It’s been an enjoyable experience for sure,” Bowen said. “I have been able to meet so many great students, parents and coaches throughout the years, I can’t even begin to add up those numbers.”
Killingly, who will be defending their Eastern Connecticut Conference title on Saturday in the ECC Tournament at Fitch, is finishing the season strong with 21 consecutive dual meet victories including their first win of the season over a top 10 team (Foran).
“The way my kids wrestled today makes me very proud to be their coach and keeps me motivated to continue coaching,” Bowen said. “I have great kids, assistant coaches and family support at Killingly and that truly makes coaching fun.”
Killingly will be competing at the Class M championship in Guilford on February 15-16.
The national record for most career victories is held by Rex Peckinpaugh of New Castle, Indiana with a record of 966-255-3 from 1982-2017.
Connecticut state wrestling record book
Coaching career victories
|Buster Jadach*, Derby||1980-2019||612-267-5|
|Rich Bowen*, Killingly||1987-2019||600-177-2|
|Jim Day, Berlin||1982-07,
|Patrick Risley*, Plainville
and Windham High
|Steve Konopka, Penney-East Hartford
and East Hartford High
Records as of Saturday, February 2, 2019. Source: Connecticut State Wrestling Record Book