Lackawanna College adds wrestling, reintroduces cross country
John Fox to lead first-ever wrestling program; Jeremy Popiel will coach cross country
SCRANTON, Pa. – On Wednesday, March 1, 2017, Lackawanna College President Mark Volk introduced a first for Falcons athletics programs and welcomed another back after several seasons. The College will add its first-ever wrestling program in Fall 2017 and simultaneously bring cross country back following a three-year hiatus.
Volk also introduced the coaches that will lead the programs during Wednesday’s event at the Student Union, 500 Jefferson Ave., Scranton. John Fox will be the College’s head wrestling coach, while Jeremy P. Popiel will head the men’s and women’s cross country teams. Both enter the 2017-18 season as first-year collegiate-level coaches.
Fox is well-known and respected in the local wrestling community. During his high school wrestling career at West Scranton, he was a four-year starter, letterman, and ironman as well as a three-year captain. He achieved a 105-15 career record and was a four-time Lackawanna League All-Star, a two-time District 2 AAA wrestling champion, a first team District All-Academic recipient, and a four-time Northeast Regional AAA Qualifier. Upon graduation from West, he attended Wilkes University where he was a two-year starter and letterman before an injury during his sophomore year ended his wrestling career.
Fox started his high school coaching career in 1998 when he served as an assistant coach at Scranton Preparatory School. The following year, he became the head coach of West Scranton’s junior high wrestling program, leading the team to four league champions in six years. In 2005, he joined the West Scranton varsity program as an assistant coach to a team that had four regional qualifiers and one state qualifier. In the 2006-07 season, Fox took over has the head wrestling coach at West and, over the next four years, led them to a 38-15 overall record and a district championship while developing 13 regional qualifiers, two state qualifiers, and a state place winner. From 2010 through 2015 he served as the co-head coach at West, where his team compiled a 45-17 record and won another district championship. During those five years, 15 of his wrestlers were regional qualifiers.
Fox is a resident of Taylor and is a teacher in the Riverside School District. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education and master’s degree in classroom technology from Wilkes University.
Popiel is an avid runner who began his coaching career immediately after his graduation from Keystone College in 2013. He has served as the head cross country coach at Forest City High School since the fall of 2013. During his time at Forest City, the program has produced a Class A state champion, state medalist, several state qualifiers, and developed various college athletes. He also served as the head track and field coach at Lackawanna Trail from March 2014 through May 2015. This past spring, he held the position of assistant head coach and distance coach for the Carbondale Area track and field team.
Popiel, who lives in South Abington Township, is a graduate of Keystone College where he received a bachelor’s degree in sport and recreation management with a concentration in educational administration and is pursuing a master’s degree in sport leadership and management. He is presently employed as the aquatic director/sports program director and childcare coordinator at Greater Carbondale YMCA, a position he has held since 2013.
Student-athletes interested in either of the new programs should contact Lackawanna College’s Office of Admissions at (570) 961-7814 or visit www.lackawanna.edu for more information.
Stay up to date on the wrestling, men’s cross country, and women’s cross country programs on the Falcons athletics website.