Wrestling: Thompson fired, Karam back in charge
The Rick Thompson era at Bethlehem Catholic came to an expedited end last week, as he was fired roughly five weeks into the regular season.
Becahi athletic director Chris Domyan sent out a press release shortly after 3 p.m. last Thursday, notifying of the change and reappointing former head coach Jeff Karam back in charge of the program.
“Bethlehem Catholic High School and wrestling coach Rick Thompson are parting ways effective immediately,” said the release that Domyan sent out. “We thank coach Thompson for his work with our wrestlers and wish him well in the future. Bethlehem Catholic has re-appointed Jeff Karam as the school’s head wrestling coach, a position he previously held for 10 seasons. After stepping down as head coach at the end of last season, coach Karam has remained on staff as an assistant.”
Karam stepped away from the program last April to watch his twin sons Luke and Cole wrestle respectively at Lehigh and New York University. Unfortunately, Luke tore his ACL in December, allowing him more free time to only watch one son wrestle in college and to step back into the program he built into a powerhouse over the past decade.
He comes back with 300 career wins and six state championships under his belt and will now look to steer the team back into district and state title contention.
The Hawks (7-1) uncharacteristically struggled in tough matches early in the season, scoring a 32-26 win over Northampton on Dec. 20 and then losing a 32-30 match at Liberty on Jan. 4. The loss to the Hurricanes was the first regular season defeat to an EPC school since 2011.
Thompson had repeatedly made it known to everyone in Becahi’s wrestling circles that this was going to be his only season, which ultimately helped the administration expedite his departure.
Thompson did not respond to comment for this story.
Domyan declined to talk about the reasons for Thompson’s dismissal, but is happy that Karam is back to calm the waters for the rest of this season.
“I asked Jeff to come back,” said Domyan. “He has always been committed to the program and the school, because he is loyal. As far as moving forward [next year], we will take it one step at a time. Right now the focus is on this year’s team.”