Trinity High School’s wrestling squad qualified for the WPIAL team championships 19 times in the 20 years John Abajace was the Hillers head coach. His teams were WPIAL finalists in 1988 and 1990, were among the top ten in the state on a number of occasions and the 1980 squad was a PIAA runner-up.
Abajace-coached Trinity teams have won the Western and Big Ten prep conference titles, and the California Christmas, Eastern Area, St. Johns and Indiana County invitational tournaments. In two decades at Trinity, Abajace has coached individual wrestlers to 50 Sectional championships and 16 WPIAL titles.
He has had nine state finalists and five state champions.
John began his coaching career as an assistant at the University of Pittsburgh in 1972, where he had the opportunity to work with NCAA champions such as George “Fuddy” Bryant from Washington High School, John Chatman of Trinity High and the current head wrestling coach at Pitt, Randy Stottlemyer.
He spent two years as an assistant to Joe Shook at Trinity, 1976 and 1977, before accepting his first head coach position at Chartiers Valley in 1978.
The following year he won the top job at Trinity where he remained until his retirement in 1999. His career coaching record is 284 wins, 85 losses and 3 ties.
In four years as a varsity wrestler at Trinity High School, John Abajace never lost a dual meet match, while amassing a prep record of 80 wins, four losses and a draw. He was a state champion, a state runnerup, a three-time WPIAL champion, three-time Section champion and four-time Section finalist.
John won a full wrestling scholarship to Michigan State University, where he never lost a home match, finishing with 30 wins, seven losses and a tie.
He won a Big Ten Conference championship and was a Big Ten runnerup. He was a Midlands Open champion in 1969, the same year he was named the top-ranked NCAA 152 pound sophomore in the nation.