'74 Grad Coaching Career
Tim Marzuola, a 1974 graduate of Arkansas City Junior College, has established himself as one of the top high school wrestling coaches in Texas. Marzuola, who was born and raised in Arkansas City, is in his 23rd year as the head coach of the Highland Park wrestling program, which he founded in 1982.
All total, Marzuola has been a head coach for 28 years. He was named National Coach of the Year in 1999, and has received several State Coach of the Year awards. His coaching accomplishments recently garnered him induction into the Texas Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. The induction took place at the University of North Texas, where Marzuola wrestled for two years.
Marzuola began wrestling as an eighth grader at Arkansas City Middle School. He then was a four-year lettermen at Arkansas City High School under the guidance of head wrestling coach W.G. “Bunt” Speer, prior to coming to ACJC. Marzuola was such a talented athlete in high school that he passed up scholarship offers in three sports (wrestling, football, and tennis) and instead decided to attend Arkansas City Junior College. “I was a small-town kid that had never been anywhere, so I was afraid to leave,” Marzuola said.
Marzuola started school at ACJC in the fall of 1970, but then left school to work. He came back to school in the spring of 1972 and played tennis for the Tigers. He went on to graduate from ACJC in the spring of 1974. “I’m glad I went to Cowley because it was one of the best times of my life.” Marzuola said. After graduating from ACJC, Marzuola planned to walk on to play tennis at North Texas State University, now the University of North Texas, until he heard the school had started a scholarship program for wrestling. He decided to wrestle instead.
In his two years at North Texas, Marzuola was a two-time Texas Collegiate champion. At first, the transition from attending a school the size of Arkansas City Junior College to attending a school that had three times the enrollment than in the entire population of Arkansas City, was a tough one. “I was pretty well awestruck when I first got to North Texas,” Marzuola said. “But wrestling helped me adapt and gave me something to be a part of.” Marzuola credits North Texas wrestling coach Bob Maughn for helping him make the transition. “Coach helped me learn a lot about life,” Marzuola said. Marzuola graduated from North Texas in 1976 with an undergraduate degree in political science and history, and earned his degree in secondary education. He later went on to earn a master’s degree in economics. Marzuola teaches economics, U.S. History, and government at Highland Park.
He credits his desire to teach to one of his former teachers at ACJC. “Bob Lawson was the driving force behind my wanting to get into the education field,” Marzuola said. “He was definitely one of my favorite teachers at Arkansas City Junior College.” The day after his graduation from North Texas, Marzuola took over the reigns as head wrestling coach at MacArthur High School. In his first year at the school, he led the wrestling team to a second-place finish at state, and coached four state champions.
After five-and-a-half years at MacArthur, Marzuola was contacted about starting a wrestling program at Highland Park High School. He was skeptical at first, but then decided to accept the challenge. Marzuola’s goal was to stay at the school until the Scots won a state title. However, instead of taking five or six years like he had hoped, it took 15 (1998 state dual title) and Marzuola has stayed at the school. The Scots have won five state dual crowns and three UIL titles in the past seven years. “I could never have imagined that I would be doing this for 28 years, and never imagined that I would be at Highland Park for 22,” Marzuola said. What has kept Marzuola coaching and teaching at Highland Park is that his son John is a senior on the wrestling team, and his daughter Devyn is a junior at the school. Marzuola and his wife, Tina, come back to Arkansas City once or twice a year, and try to make it back each year for Arkalalah. Tina’s mother, Harriett Bradford, and sisters Diana Keefe and Debra Pappan, reside in Arkansas City.