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A local wrestling icon returns to the mat

Former WL-Salem head coach helping BHS program


ABOVE: Eric Harman, who coached West Liberty-Salem to a state championship and had wrestlers win 12 individual state titles, has returned to the mat this winter as an assistant coach at Bellefontaine. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Eric Harman works with Bellefontaine’s Jose Calderon during a recent practice session. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | AARON LABATT)

A major name in Logan County wrestling is back on the local scene this winter.

Eric Harman, who coached West Liberty-Salem wrestling from 1983 until 1993 and led the Tigers to a Division III state championship in 1991, is back as an assistant this winter at Bellefontaine.

While at WL-Salem, he coached 12 individual state champions, including the four Dernlan brothers. His name is synonymous with the incredible wrestling tradition at WL-Salem.

After stepping down as the Tigers’ head coach, Harman was an assistant for the Tigers from 1995 until 1999, but a health issue forced him to step away from the sport.

For over 10 years, Harman has been wrestling off the mat with Sarcoidosis, a rare autoimmune disease that occurs throughout the body, mostly affecting the lungs.

“I’ve been battling an illness that wiped me out physically for many years,” said Harman. “This is the first year in over a decade I’ve felt strong enough to consider doing this.

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