Easton Area High School

Easton Area High School is a four-year public high school located in Palmer Township, Northampton County, in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania. It is part of the Easton Area School District.[1] The school's colors are red and white (although black is used in many of the school's sports uniforms) and its mascot is the Red Rover. The principal of Easton Area High School is Kyle Geiger, and the Deputy principal is Jeanette Kassis.[2]

Easton Area High School
2601 William Penn Highway


PrincipalKyle Geiger
Grades9 - 12
Color(s)Red and White         
MascotRed Rover
WebsiteEaston Area High School


Easton Area High School has an enrollment of approximately 2,700 students. Easton offers 26 Advanced Placement courses. Easton's proficiency levels on state assessments track slightly higher than the state average. Over 85% of Easton students will attend an institution of higher learning after high school, with about 45% going to four year colleges. Over 46% of Easton students qualify for free or reduced lunch, qualifying it for Title I federal funds.

Rivalry with Phillipsburg High School

The high school has a rivalry with Phillipsburg High School in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. The two teams play an annual Thanksgiving Day football game at Lafayette College's Fisher Field that is considered one of the nation's longest-standing high school rivalries. The rivalry began in 1905 and is still ongoing.

The game, which typically draws more than 20,000 fans, has been televised on national networks. The 1988 game, which was broadcast on ESPN, was the first high school football game to be broadcast on national television. The 100th anniversary game, played in 2006 and won by Easton 21-7, was broadcast on ESPN2. Easton leads the overall series with 61 wins; Phillipsburg has 42 and the teams have tied five times. One of these ties, the 1993 game, was resolved as part of the Gatorade REPLAY series. The Easton and Phillipsburg teams from 1993 were brought back to play a rematch in early April 2009; Phillipsburg won the game 27-12.



Easton Area High School has twice won the Scholastic Scrimmage contest (1996 and 1998), where Pennsylvania high schools compete against each other in an academic trivia contest. The team was led by Jennifer Frey, and assisted by Stephen Semanek, Sheila Viglianti and Norma Shriver.

The Model United Nations team consistently places in the top three schools at Lehigh University's High School Model United Nations Conference. The team came in third in 2011 and second in 2010. In 2012, the team won first place overall at Lehigh University and returned for a conference with real delegates.


Varsity sports at Easton Area High School include baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, indoor track, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and wrestling.

Easton competes in the East Penn Conference in the District XI athletic division of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. Easton holds the record for the most recorded Lehigh Valley Conference championships in girls track and field athletics. In 2008, Easton girls track & field standout Chanelle Price won the Gatorade Female Athlete of the Year award. This award is handed to the nation's top high school female athlete. In 2007, the Girls Track and Field team were Indoor and Outdoor PIAA State Champions, led by Price and teammates Allyse Barlow, Abbie Dubin Rhodin, Jenna Liew, Jessica Dorsey, Abby Schaffer, Amy Matulewicz and Tara Bright. Easton holds the third most Lehigh Valley Conference championships in all sports, behind only Parkland High School and Emmaus High School.[3] The cheerleading team consistently places within the top 10 at UCA Nationals, held in Orlando, Florida. In 2019, the ranking and review site Niche ranked Easton Area High School the 28th best public school in Pennsylvania for athletics.[4]


Easton began playing football in 1894 and has an all-time record of 822-344-52. The 822 wins are the sixth most nationally and Easton trails Mount Carmel by 11 wins for the most in Pennsylvania history.

Easton has posted fifteen undefeated seasons and has only eighteen losing seasons in 110 years of football. Before the PIAA instituted the playoff system in 1988, state champions were crowned by state poll, with Easton earning “mythical” state titles in 1939, 1958, and 1968. Since the advent of the state playoff system, Easton advanced to state semifinals in 1991, 1993, 2003, and 2004 and the state quarterfinals in 2009, and 2010 in 4A, the largest classification in Pennsylvania. As of 2016, Easton will compete in 6A, which is also the largest of the new six school classifications.

Easton competes in District XI of the PIAA. Easton has won the District XI 4A championship seven times since the advent of the District XI playoffs in 1985 (1990, 1991, 1993, 2003, 2004, 2009, and 2010) and played in the District XI Finals seventeen times in that time period. Easton has won twenty-four conference championships in its history, winning the Big Five in 1937, 1939, 1943, 1950, 1951, 1958, 1959, 1961 and 1962, the Eastern Big Eight in 1966, 1967, 1968, and 1974, the East Penn Conference in 1978, 1986, 1987, and 1991, the Mountain Valley Conference in 2001, and the Lehigh Valley Conference in 2003, 2004, 2009, and 2012 and the EPC South in 2014. Easton is a member of the East Penn Conference Southern Division, formed in the 2014–2015 school year which combined members of the Lehigh Valley Conference and Mountain Valley Conference.

Easton has had 48 players selected to the Associated Press All State team, including Ray Rissmiller (1959 and 1960), an All-SEC tackle at Georgia who played for the Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, and Buffalo Bills. Thirty Easton players have been selected to play in the prestigious Big 33 all-star game. Tailback Juan Gaddy was just the third player in Pennsylvania history to rush for over 5,000 career yards and made a pair of AP All-State teams and was MVP of the Big 33 game in 1993.

Easton is historically known for strong, physical defenses and a power running game. Easton has allowed less than 10 points per game more for a season 35 times since World War II, including nine years giving up less than a touchdown per game.

Only eight men have coached at Easton since 1912. James Reilly coached from 1912 to 1930 (missing 1918 to serve in World War I) and went 129–21–10, setting program records for wins and winning percentage. After an unsuccessful stint by John Kressler from 1931 to 1934, former NFL running back Bird Carroll took over the program, going 74–31–8 from 1935 to 1946 and winning the 1939 state championship. Carroll was succeeded by Bob Rute, the quarterback on the 1939 team and Easton's first All State selection. After a successful playing career at Duke and service in the US Army during World War II, Rute coached at Easton from 1948 to 1967, with a career record of 131-56-9, breaking Reilly's wins record. Rute's 1958 team was inducted as a team to the Easton Hall of Fame in 2014 and is generally regarded as the strongest team in school history.

After Rute retired, he was replaced by his defensive coordinator, Wayne Grube, who went 81-44-7 from 1968 to 1979, winning a state title in his first season and finishing #2 in Pennsylvania with a 10-0-1 record in 1978. Bob Shriver coached from 1980-1992, with a record of 105-50-2 and led Easton to their first state playoff appearance in 1991, where they lost in state semifinals. Shriver was succeeded by Steve Shiffert, who had been on Shriver's staff as the offensive line coach. Shiffert holds the all-time wins record at Easton, with a career record of 216-89-1 and has six conference and five District XI championships. His 216 wins are fifth in District XI history and second among active coaches. He led Easton to the state semifinals in 1993, 2003, and 2004 and state quarterfinals in 2009 and 2010. Shiffert also owned a 17–6–1 record against archrival Phillipsburg in Thanksgiving Day games. In January 2017, Shiffert was fired after a 7–6 season. He was replaced by longtime assistant coach Jeff Braido, who will begin his career in the 2017 season.

Easton has played their home games at Cottingham Stadium since 1924. Named for former superintendent William Cottingham, Cottingham Stadium is one of the oldest high school football venues in Pennsylvania and is often recognized as one of the iconic stadiums in the state. Lights were installed in 1953 and it seats approximately 5,500. Cottingham Stadium sits in Easton's West Ward neighborhood, across the street from the old high school building which now is Paxinosa Elementary School.


Easton has one of the strongest wrestling programs in the country, with an all-time dual meet record of 925-223-15. Easton is second in Pennsylvania history with 35 state champions, including 1984 Olympic gold medalist Bobby Weaver (1975, 1976, 1977), two-time NCAA champions Jack Cuvo (1983, 1984, 1985) and Jordan Oliver (2006, 2007, 2008), two-time NCAA Finalist and University of Nebraska associate head coach Bryan Snyder (1997), NCAA All-Americans Jamarr Billman (1996, 1997) and Mitchell Minotti (2011), and former NC State football coach Chuck Amato (1965). Easton has produced 185 District 11 champions, 116 Northeast Regional Champions, 127 PIAA state medalists, 55 PIAA state finalists and 35 PIAA state champions. At the collegiate level, Easton wrestlers have earned 21 NCAA Division I All-Americans honors, eight NCAA Finals appearances, and four NCAA Championships.

The program was started in 1947 by assistant football coach Gust Zarnas, a former All-American offensive lineman at Ohio State and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Dick Rutt was Easton's first state champion, winning the 105-pound weight class in 1949. From 1948 to 2015, Easton crowned at least one champion at the District 11 Tournament in every season, setting a Pennsylvania record known as The Streak. Former Easton coaches John Maitland, Dave Crowell, and Steve Powell are all members of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Powell retired in 2016 after 32 years as the head coach with a career record of 532-126-3, four state championships, and four state duals championships. He coached 19 individual state champions, third most of any coach in Pennsylvania history. His eight combined state titles are the most of any coach in Pennsylvania history. Easton is coached by Jamarr Billman, a two-time state champion for the Red Rovers and a three-time NCAA All-American at Penn State and Lock Haven. Billman will debut in the 2016–2017 season. Billman has been an assistant coach at Cornell University, Easton, and Wilson High School. Billman is also the first African-American head coach in Easton history in any boys sport.

Since the PIAA began crowning a team champion at the state tournament 1976, Easton has won six state championships (1981, 1983, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002) and finished in the top five eighteen times. Pennsylvania added a State Dual tournament in 1999, which Easton won four years in a row from 2001 to 2004. Easton has been to the State Dual Finals eight times, a Pennsylvania record, and their four championships are tied for the most in the state. Since the advent of national rankings by publications such as Amateur Wrestling News and Wrestling USA, Easton has been a consistent presence in the national rankings. In 1996, 1997, 2001, and 2002, Easton was the #1 public school wrestling team in the country. Easton finished in the top five nationally in 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, and 2004 and earned national rankings fourteen times between 1989 and 2011. Additionally, Wrestling USA named Easton the third best high school program and best public school program in the nation during the 1990s.



The high school is also famous in local artistic venues for its choir, which recently won first place at the Heritage Festival in Virginia Beach. The directors are Peter Deshler and John Shilanskas, who took over from Ed Milisits - the previous director of 34 years - in 2009. The choir has six parts: the Concert Choir (for singers grades 10-12), the Freshman Choir, the Treble Choir (for all female & high voices, including countertenors), the Camerata, the Bass Choir [for all male and low voices], the Chamber Singers and the Jazz Chorale. Some students from the EAHS Choir also participate in the PMEA District 10 and Region V Choirs.

Instrumental music

Easton is also home to a prominent instrumental music program. Many students take part in the various high school ensembles. Instrumental music consists of 9th Grade Concert Band, 10th-12th Grade Concert Band, Marching Band, 9th Grade String Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and Jazz Lab. Select groups which require audition include Jazz Band, Pit Orchestra, and Chamber Strings. All of the above named ensembles are under the direction of Chris Ballentine.

The "Red Rover" marching band contains approximately 250 students. Significant accomplishments include performances at the 1993 Rose Bowl. Also the 1998 Orange Bowl and the 2003 Orange Bowl where both times they also performed their own half-time show during a Jacksonville Jaguars game, and the Second inauguration of George W. Bush (2005). The competitive band has also traveled to Florida for the Disney High Honors program in both 2007 and 2009. In 2010, the band traveled to San Diego, California, to perform in the Port of San Diego Bay Balloon Parade and the 2010 Holiday Bowl. In 2012, the Red Rover Marching Band made an appearance in Orlando, Florida, and in 2014, the Red Rover Marching Band performed their field show in the 2014 Orange Bowl. In 2015, they marched in the Miss America parade, and in December 2017, they made their first appearance at the 2017 Fiesta Bowl.

The marching band is known also for their competitive side. Although they have had many opportunities to travel all over the world to play for events, they also compete in many different circuits. They have played for local competitions as well as for the US bands circuit. Winning at many of these competitions led to a large collection of trophies, for all to see and be proud of.

Notable alumni


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-05-10. Retrieved 2008-06-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/easton/index.ssf/2016/05/new_principal_named_at_easton.html
  3. LVIAC Historical Stats Archived September 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. "These 50 public high schools are the best for sports in Pennsylvania, says report," Penn Live, February 4, 2019, retrieved February 14, 2019.
  5. "Former Easton Mayor Fred Ashton dies". The Express-Times. 2013-05-09. Retrieved 2013-06-08.

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