The End Of An Era, Legendary Coach Larry Wiser Retires After Guiding Bobcats And Wildcats Football For Thirty-Two Seasons (Posted 11/24/20)
(Above photo by Bri Kirkland – Kirkland Photography) Coach Wiser on the sidelines as directing the the first ever Wildcats squad
An ERA (yes all capitals) has come to an end, as LEGENDARY (again, yes all capitals) football Coach Larry Wiser has decided to hang up the cleats, clipboard and practice whistle. We’ll no longer get to him as he roams the sidelines, encouraging his charges on to victory.
And Oh the victories, 238 of them, against just 105 losses, with a tie thrown in, in Coach Wiser’s Hall of Fame Career, that spanned thirty-two seasons (1988-2009, 2011-2020), thirty with the Clarion Area Bobcats and another with the newly formed Central Clarion Wildcats. (His total time as an assistant and Head Coach spanned forty-seven years.)
Coach Wiser had 217 wins with the Bobcats, while they were in the Little 7-12/KSAC, most of any coach in that Conference’s history, which began in 1951. His 233 wins with the Bobcats program, which dates back to 1927, are the most in school history. Coach Wiser’s 238 total career wins are number two all-time in District Nine, trailing only Clearfield’s Tim Janocko.
With 200-plus wins with the same school, as Clarion Area athletes are part of the Wildcats, Coach Wiser is part of a very rare fraternity among Pennsylvania scholastic football coaches who have achieved that milestone with the same school. He is a member of both the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches (PSFCA) and the Central Pennsylvania Football (CPFCA) Coaches Halls of Fame, in which he was inducted the same year (2011).
But those who know Coach Wiserknow his philosophy, “It’s about we, not me.” He believes that you can’t just come in and do it yourself, its about those people around you.
In announcing his retirement, in a letter to Clarion Area Superintendent Joe Carrico and the School Board, Coach Wiser said in part, “I have been blessed over the past 47 years to be part of the Clarion Area School District as a teacher, assistant and Head Football Coach, wrestling coach, Athletic Director, and a Class Advisor. I tell my friends that I never had a job because I had a career that I had a passion for! The exciting part of my career was not only what I taught our students and athletes, but also what I learned and benefited from our students and athletes! As I taught them not only academics and sports but also life-time lessons. In turn, they also taught me some lifetime lessons. I am thankful and appreciative of these special 47 years of my life and my family.”
He thanked among others, the Clarion Area School District and community, the parents, students, athletes, coaches he has worked with, local media… and his family.
Coach Wiser said, “A special thanks to my wife Annie, and daughter Morgan for their support. I have made the decision to retire from coaching with no regrets. Football has been my passionfor all of these years. I look forward to devoting all of My passion and love to becoming a fulltime husband, father, and Grandfather to a beautiful grandson, and one coming very soon.”
Following are listed many Coach Wiser’s, his teams’ and individual athletes’ accomplishments and honors:
His teams won nine KSAC Championships: 1999, 2000, 2004 (Co-Champions), 2005 (Tri-Champions), 2011 (Small School Division), 2012 (Small School Division), 2013 (Small School Champions), 2014 (Small School Division), 2017 (Large School Division) and four District Nine Championships: 1997 (Class-A), 2009 (Class-A), 2013 (Class-A) and 2017 (Class-AA).
The 2013 team reached the PIAA Class-A State Semifinals, losing to eventual State Champion Cardinal Wuerl-North Catholic and the 2017 squad made it to the Class-AA Quarterfinals.
Coach Wiser’s teams had only four losing seasons out of thirty-two.
Coach Wiser, a two time PSFCA District Nine Coach of the Year (2009,2017), was an assistant on the 2016 Pennsylvania Squad in the Big 33 Classic, which was victorious over Maryland. His is the only KSAC coach to have ever participated in that game.
Seven of his players were Big 33 Nominees: Brad Larson (2000), Micah McElhattan (2000), Kyle Cathcart (2002), Nate McClaine (2004), Cody Hearst (2014), Damien Slike (2014) and Zak Bauer (2018).
Coach Wiser was an assistant on the West Squad in the PFSCA East/West All-Star game in 2010 and the Head Coach of the victorious West Squad in the 2019 game.
He had two players selected to play in the East/West All-Star game: Kyle Cathcart, who was selected to play in 2001, but couldn’t due to injury and Nate McClaine who played for the West in the 2004 contest. Zak Bauer was the first alternate for the West in 2018.
Coach Wiser was an assistant on the North Squad in the 2009 and 2010 CPFCA Lezzer Lumber Classic and head coach on the victorious North Squad in 2014. He was the head coach for the KSAC Squad in the 2017 Frank Varischetti All-Star Game. A number of his players and assistant coaches have participated in both the Lezzer Lumber and Varischetti games.
A number of Coach Wiser’s players have made All-State by various naming organizations throughout the years. He had three players who went on to be college All-Americans, Scott “Scooter Miller at Lycoming, Brad Larson at St. Francis and Tyler McMeans at the University of Miami.
In addition to McMeans two other of Coach Wiser’s Bobcats were selected to play at major college schools, B.J. Spozio at Navy and T.J. Armstrong for Old Dominion. McMeans went on to a professional career as a practice squad player for the Chicago Bears and as a starting offensive lineman for NFL Europe’s Berlin Thunder. He also played Arena Football.
Coach Wiser closed his letter by saying, “It has been a true honor to represent this community!”
And this community is honored to have had you represent us all of these years.
Enjoy your retirement, Coach Wiser! Enjoy your retirement, Coach Wiser! Congratulations, Larry, Annie, Morgan, Ryan and all the Wiser Family!
“Who Are We?” “Bobcats/Wildcats!”
“Who’s Better? “No One!”
“Do You Believe It?” “Yes Sir!”