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John Summa -- The Builder of the BW Wrestling Program

John Summa, legendary coach of the Baldwin Wallace University wrestling program, was born April 27, 1916 in Trenton, New Jersey.  Summa believed in hard work, determination and dedication. His work ethic and strong wrestling teams reflected these virtues.

Summa was the son of Hungarian immigrants and graduated from Garfield Heights High School in 1934. He attended The Ohio State University, earning a bachelors degree in 1948, and earned a masters degree in education at Case Western Reserve University. While at Ohio State, Summa wrestled on the varsity team in 1941 and 1948. His collegiate career, like so many others, was interrupted by World War II. He was a Northeastern Ohio AA champion from 1937-1939 and was the NEOAAU Outstanding Wrestler in 1939. In 1940, Summa was second in the National YMCA. Championships. After wrestling at Ohio State in 1941, he spent the next seven years in the United States Air Force and wrestled for them from 1941-1945. During World War II, Summa was involved with  USAAF aviation technology. Following the service, Summa finished his education and began teaching at Berea High School, BW and Cuyahoga Community College. Summa also was a post commander of  American Legion Post 91 and of the 13th District.

John Summa’s 
Record At BW

Years As Head Coach:


Overall Record:


OAC Record:


OAC Championships:


As a coach and educator, John Summa spent his life dedicated to the promotion of wrestling.  He was the head wrestling coach at Baldwin Wallace from 1948-80. During that time, Summa was approached with the idea of starting a wrestling program at Berea High School. Summa welcomed the idea and gave the Berea High program a start. Like all other programs that were influenced by Summa, the Berea High wrestling program was a success. While at BW, Summa compiled 201-140 overall won-loss record with one tie. Six of his teams won Ohio Athletic Conference championships.  He had a career coaching record in the OAC of 105-38-1. In addition, he was presented a 20-year meritorious service award at BW. A John M. Summa Scholarship also was established in his name.  For his efforts, John Summa was elected President of the Greater Cleveland Coaches and Officials Association in 1960 and managed the sectional and regional wrestling tournament in Cleveland from 1955-1975. He was named to the Ohio Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1975, the Baldwin Wallace College Alumni Letterman’s Association Hall of Fame in 1982 and The Ohio State University Athletic Hall of Fame.  Summa passed away on March 14, 1985.  He is remembered and greatly missed by many at Baldwin Wallace and in Berea.