When Ron Ledbetter and John Rosa began their wrestling coaching careers in Beaver County, both called on "the Father of Beaver County Wrestling" for help.
"When I came to South Side Beaver, my Athletic Director Mike Emge told me to call on Quigley coach Ed Driscoll if I needed any advice," said Ledbetter, who recently completed his 12th season as Rams head coach.
"Ed had one of the top programs in Class AA at the time and was just coming down from its peak, but didn't think twice about helping when I asked for advice on running a tournament. There are quite a few coaches in the history of Beaver County who owe Ed Driscoll a debt of gratitude." The same is true for Rosa, who recently completed his 15th year as Freedom's head coach.
"I've looked up to Ed Driscoll since I came to Freedom," said Rosa. "It didn't matter that I was from an opposing high school. Ed is always willing to help a young coach. He knows what it takes to build a successful program and is willing to share what he's learned over the years." Driscoll came to Quigley in 1969 and was one of the founding members of the school's football program. The following year, Driscoll became Athletic Director and was asked to start a wrestling program. And despite no previous experience in the sport of wrestling, Driscoll took on the challenge of starting a program.
"I didn't wrestle in high school or college," said Driscoll, who graduated from North Catholic High School in 1960, Southern Illinois University in 1968, with a Bachelors Degree, and the University of Pittsburgh in 1974, with a Masters Degree.
"My roommate in college was a wrestler. I started attending some of his matches and fell in love with the sport. When I started teaching at Quigley. I made wrestling part of my gym class.
The Principal Father George Leech, saw that I liked wrestling and asked if I wanted to start a varsity program." Driscoll accepted the offer without hesitation. And then realized he knew little about the sport of wrestling.
"I got a book from the library and learned all the basic moves." said Driscoll. "I tried each of the moves on my wife.
Then demonstrated them in practice the next day. I'm surprised my wife didn't leave me then." "I used a very basic approach until I learned the ropes, I conditioned them like heck. I made sure that my kids were in better condition than their opponent. They may not have known as much as their opponent, but in most cases were in better shape."
Driscoll began Quigley's wrestling program in 1970 and compiled a 257-244-1 record. He is responsible for originating and hosting over 90 high schools wrestling tournaments since 1970; started the Mid-Western Athletic Conference (MAC) versus Ohio Valley Athletic Conference (OVAC) all-star meet
In 1986, promoting the sport in the Tri-state area; was involved organizing WAWA and its first youth tournament along with other Area IV Junior Olympic wrestling events; organized the first all-girls state qualifying wrestling tournament; and hosted numerous wrestling clinics and camps in Beaver County over the past 17 years.
According to Sean Kearney who wrestled for Mr. Driscoll and has been a PIAA official the last 25 years, "Coach Driscoll has influenced many people throughout the wrestling community He always reminded us that wrestling prepares you for the challenges you will face throughout life and if you work hard and put forth the effort, good things will result." In recognition of his 37 years of coaching and promoting the sport of wrestling in Bea\'c County, Driscoll has been named the 2006 Dr. Kurt J. Nellis Memorial Award winner. The award is given in memory of Dr. Nellis, the former Vice President of Medical Affairs for UPMC Heath Plan.
"I'm immensely surprised by this honor,” said Driscoll, who will receive the award during the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic. "I've been to The Classic all but two years. The two I missed were when I was with Quigley's baseball team on a trip." Driscoll has been Quigley's baseball coach since 1977, minus one season. His teams have compiled a 300-294-2 record.
Driscoll was also a part of Quigley's now defunct football program from its inception in 1969 until 1994. He was head coach for three years from 1980-82.
"He puts himself out there for the kids," said Patricia Driscoll, his wife of 41 years. "And he's been doing it for almost four decades." Quigley named its athletic field after Driscoll in 1981. The Baden Knights of Columbus named him Man of the Year in 1985. He was inducted into the Beaver County Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Midwestern Athletic Conference Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2002.
Driscoll has also been honored for his 36 years of service Quigley's Athletic Director.
The Pennsylvania State Athletic Directors Association (PSADA) honors its top Athletic Directors each year and Driscoll is the 2005-06 winner from District 5. He was also a finalist for the honor of Pennsylvania Athletic Director of the Year, which was announced March 23 in Hershey.