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2024 California Wrestling Hall of Fame Banquet

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The Lynn Dyche Legacy Recipient


Mike has played a pivotal role in shaping the wrestling scene in the vibrant community of Bakersfield. His dedication to the sport was duly recognized when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006, a testament to his lifelong commitment to wrestling. Serving as the esteemed historian of the Central Section Wrestling, Mike has delved deep into its rich tapestry and shared his insights through two published books.Beyond his scholarly pursuits, Mike has also excelled as a wrestling coach, leading his teams to numerous triumphs on the mat. His leadership extends to administrative duties, including overseeing the Coyote Club, a vital organization that champions programs and wrestlers across the Bakersfield region.Not content with merely coaching and administrating, Mike has lent his expertise to officiating matches, ensuring fairness and sportsmanship prevail in the Bakersfield wrestling arena. His extensive contributions to the sport and unwavering dedication to its promotion make him a fitting choice for the inaugural Lynn Dyche Legacy Award.

Anthony’s journey in athletics began during his high school years at Clovis High School, where he excelled in football, wrestling, and baseball. This passion for sports continued into his college years at Fresno State, where he pursued a degree in Business Finance. This educational path not only equipped him with valuable knowledge but also ignited his interest in coaching and teaching.

In 1991, Anthony embarked on his coaching career at the newly established Buchanan High School, where he dedicated 16 years to coaching football and wrestling. Under his guidance, the wrestling teams at Buchanan achieved remarkable success, securing 13 Conference Titles, 5 Masters titles, and a CIF State Championship.

Transitioning from coaching, Anthony assumed the role of Athletic Director at Clovis East HS for four years before moving to Paso Robles HS for five years. Currently, he serves as the Athletic Director at Pioneer Valley HS in Santa Maria. Anthony’s outstanding contributions to athletic administration were recently recognized when he was named Central Section Athletic Director of the Year. His leadership extends beyond his school roles; he actively participates in various administrative capacities within the Central Section, including serving on the CIF Central Section Board of Managers and as an Executive Committee Member.

Anthony’s talents aren’t confined to the sidelines; he has established himself as a prominent public address announcer. For the past 24 years, his voice has resonated at the CIF State Wrestling Championships, and for two decades, he has lent his announcing skills to the Community College State Wrestling Championships. His distinctive voice has also graced the venues of prestigious universities like Fresno State, Cal Poly, Stanford, and the PAC 12 championships. Additionally, Anthony has been the voice of the California USA Wrestling tournaments for the past 20 years.

Beyond his announcing endeavors, Anthony plays an integral role in the California Wrestling community. He serves on the California Wrestling Hall of Fame Board and has hosted its Annual Banquet for over 15 years. Currently, he holds the position of President of the Hall of Fame, further cementing his commitment to preserving the sport’s legacy and honoring its champions

David Watts, hailing from Caruthers High School, is a formidable force in the wrestling community, with a record that speaks volumes of his dedication and expertise. Beginning his journey as a wrestler himself, he secured the title of 2-time California State Qualifier during his tenure at Caruthers High School. His passion for the sport led him to further heights as he earned the title of Jr. College All-American at Palomar Junior College and NCAC placer while attending Chico State.

Transitioning from an illustrious wrestling career to coaching, Watts has left an indelible mark on the wrestling landscape. He has held various coaching positions, including Volunteer Assistant Coach at Poway High School, Co-Head Coach at Las Plumas High School, Assistant Coach at Washington Union High School, and Head Coach at Caruthers High School, El Diamonte High School, and presently at Redwood High School.

Watts’ coaching prowess extends beyond high school wrestling as he has coached numerous wrestlers to state qualifications and placements, including his own sons. His commitment to the development of young wrestlers is evident through his involvement with several wrestling clubs, such as Caruthers Freestyle Wrestling Club, Tulare Titans Wrestling Club, Miner Wrestling Club, Ranger Wrestling Club, and Legends Of Gold California. Under his guidance, these clubs have produced state champions and garnered accolades.

In addition to his coaching roles, Watts is also actively involved in the administrative aspects of wrestling. He holds USA Wrestling Freestyle and Greco Silver Level Certification and has served as California Western Regional Coach, California National Team Coach, and California Junior Duals Coach. Currently, he holds the position of California National Team Head Coach, overseeing the development of aspiring wrestlers at the national level.

Watts’ contributions to wrestling have not gone unnoticed, as evidenced by his numerous awards, including the 2008 Tulare County Wrestling Coach Of The Year and the 2008 CAUSA Wrestling Family Of The Year.

With his unwavering dedication and unparalleled expertise, David Watts continues to shape the future of wrestling, leaving a lasting legacy in the hearts of wrestlers and enthusiasts alike.

Tim embarked on his wrestling journey at Ceres High School, where he showcased his talent before graduating in 1971. Fueling his passion, he continued his wrestling career at Modesto Junior College, later earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fresno State in 1976.

His coaching odyssey commenced in 1973 at Fort Miller Junior High, leading his team to a remarkable 9-1 record and clinching the City Championship. Tim’s coaching prowess persisted at Fort Miller until 1976 when he transitioned to Tehipite Middle School, where he devoted 20 years to mentoring young wrestlers. Under his guidance, Tehipite claimed 2 League Championships and 1 City Championship, cementing his legacy as one of the original Junior High coaches employed by the Fresno Unified School District. Concurrently, Tim served as an assistant coach at Fresno High for 13 years, consistently propelling his team to formidable performances in the North Yosemite League.

Beyond the school setting, Tim extended opportunities to wrestlers through the Team Fujii Club. Competing in freestyle and Greco-Roman styles across the nation, the club garnered numerous California USAW championships and local accolades. Tim’s dedication also played a pivotal role in establishing the Central Valley Wrestling Association in 1976, where he served in various capacities, including Secretary, Treasurer, President, and Pairing Director until 2011.

Further enriching youth wrestling, Tim collaborated with Donnie and Cynthia Sanchez as the Tri-Kids Directors for California USA Wrestling, overseeing youth wrestlers’ development for nine years. Their endeavors spanned cities like Fresno, Pocatello, Winnemucca, and Butte, servicing young athletes at the Kids/Cadet Far West Regional Championships and the Kids National Championship in Fresno.

Even after retiring from his role as Kids State Director, Tim’s commitment to wrestling remained unwavering. He continued to contribute to the Team Fujii Wrestling Club and offered his expertise in pairing for the Central Valley Wrestling Association, leaving an indelible mark on the sport and the lives he touched.

Coach Magnusson embodies the epitome of coaching excellence, with a career spanning over four decades that stands as a testament to his unwavering character, dedication, and camaraderie within the wrestling community. His journey began in 1985 as the Assistant Varsity Wrestling Coach and Assistant Varsity Football at Firebaugh High School. From those early days, Coach Magnusson laid the groundwork for future champions through prayer, hard work, and commitment.

In 1991, Coach Magnusson took on the role of Head Varsity Wrestling Coach, a position he has embraced with unmatched care, courage, and dedication ever since. Under his guidance, the Eagles achieved remarkable success, securing their first Valley Championship in his inaugural season. Throughout his tenure, Coach Magnusson’s teams have amassed an impressive 29 league championships, with an astounding 27 undefeated seasons. Notable victories include wins at the a remarkable 3rd place finish at the Central Section Masters in 1994, a testament to his leadership and the dedication of his team, affectionately known as “The Young Guns of Firebaugh”.

Individually, Coach Magnusson has nurtured over 100 league champions, including six exceptional athletes who achieved the rare distinction of becoming 4-time league champions. Beyond the local wrestling scene, Coach Magnusson’s impact is felt with 22 individual Valley Champions, 5 Masters Champions, and 5 CIF State Placers, including Cleo Johnson, who clinched a State Championship title in 1997.

Recognized for his coaching excellence, Coach Magnusson has been honored with the WSL Coach of the Year award an incredible 25 times, along with the esteemed FCA “John Azevedo” Coach of the Year accolade in 2020. His contributions to USA Wrestling are equally commendable, having served as a cornerstone of the Firebaugh Wrestling Club since 1987, guiding the club to produce over 200 CVWA Freestyle/Greco-Roman Individual Valley Champions and nurturing the talents of numerous CAUSAW State Placers, with 30 of his students advancing to Collegiate wrestling.

Coach Magnusson’s legacy extends beyond the wrestling mats; he is a mentor and visionary who has organized camps and tournaments, fostering a culture of excellence within the sport. As the Camp Director for the Westside All-American Wrestling Camp since 2005, Coach Magnusson’s vision of providing affordable and accessible training opportunities has positively impacted countless aspiring wrestlers, shaping the future of the sport for generations to come.

In celebrating Coach Magnusson, we honor more than his achievements; we honor a true champion of the sport whose passion, character, dedication, and love have inspired countless individuals and transformed lives both on and off the mat.

Doc Lippmann’s journey in wrestling began at the University of Maryland, College Park in 1968-69, where he competed in Open Tournaments. Continuing his passion, he became a walk-on at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) during his Senior Year (1971-1972), wrestling at 126 lbs. His dedication and skill earned him 4th place at the Mason-Dixon Conference Championships, alongside the honor of being selected Co-Captain and MVP.

Transitioning from athlete to mentor, Doc embarked on a coaching career at Woodlake High School, where he not only coached wrestling but also cross country and JV baseball. His coaching prowess led several athletes to Divisional and State Championships. After a brief stint, Doc returned to Fresno to teach Special Needs students and coach at McLane High School.

Over his tenure at McLane from 1999 to 2017, Doc’s coaching impact was profound. Under his guidance, the wrestling program flourished, producing 12 High School CIF Qualifiers, 5 CIF State Placers, and 2 CIF Central Section Champions. His leadership also secured a NYL Championship for the team. Collaborating with Coach Guillermo Villarreal, they established three wrestling tournaments for McLane High School, catering to various age groups and genders.

A pioneer for girls’ wrestling, Doc championed the sport from its early stages in 1997, coaching five girls to success at CIF Girls State Championships and hosting the inaugural Central Section Girls Wrestling Championships in 2013.

Even after retiring from teaching in 2016, Doc’s passion for coaching persisted. He continued coaching at Roosevelt High and Computech Middle School until October 2022. Doc’s contributions extended beyond coaching as he served as the NYL Wrestling Representative for the CIF Central Section from 2004-2007, and later assumed the role of President/Director of the Central Valley Wrestling Association from 2007-2010. Additionally, he served on the Board of Directors for California USA Wrestling during the same period.

Carlos Urrea embarked on his wrestling journey as an 8th grader at Tenaya Middle School in 1973. His passion for the sport flourished during his time at Bullard High School, where he honed his skills on the mat. Following his graduation in 1978, Carlos transitioned seamlessly into a coaching career at his alma mater, marking the inception of a lifelong commitment to wrestling.

For over four decades, Carlos has served as a pillar of the wrestling community, assuming roles ranging from volunteer coach to head coach. His tenure has seen him mentor every wrestler from Bullard High who has achieved success at the California State Championships, totaling 12 medals, including one champion and three finalists.

Beyond his coaching accolades, Coach Urrea’s true strength lies in his compassion and unwavering dedication. He wholeheartedly embraces the sport of wrestling, Bullard High School, and the countless wrestlers who have passed through its program. His profound devotion has not only endeared him to the hearts of those he has coached but also epitomizes the essence of a Lifetime Service Award recipient.

For over four decades, Chris dedicated his life to coaching wrestling at Paso Robles High School, alongside nurturing high school and youth football teams. Beginning his journey in 1980, Chris embarked on a path marked by unwavering commitment, relentless effort, and a profound desire to shape young athletes into well-rounded individuals through sports.

In 1998, Chris assumed the role of head coach at PRHS with a vision to instill a culture of excellence, emphasizing hard work and lofty standards both on and off the mat. His leadership bore fruit swiftly, as his teams clinched three consecutive league titles within the initial five years.

The zenith of Chris’s coaching career arrived in 2001, when his team achieved an unprecedented milestone by securing the school’s inaugural CIF wrestling title in both the Dual Meet tournament and Individual Championships. Throughout the years, he mentored numerous outstanding wrestlers who ascended to become CIF Champions, Masters Place-Winners, State Qualifiers, and State Placers.

Beyond the confines of high school wrestling, Chris takes immense pride in guiding numerous athletes to excel at the collegiate level, spanning from Junior Colleges to Division 2 and Division 1 Universities. A pinnacle moment in his coaching legacy was witnessing his son Mitchell Monteiro achieve Division 1 All-American status for Cal State Bakersfield in 2009, a journey that commenced when Mitchell first stepped onto the wrestling mat at the tender age of 4.

In parallel to his tenure at PRHS, Chris established a USA wrestling charter club in 1981, which has flourished under his guidance, now known as Smashmouth Wrestling Club and overseen by his son.

In 2022, after steering PRHS Wrestling to victory in the 2021-2022 Division 2 Central Section CIF team championship, Chris made the heartfelt decision to retire as head coach. With over four decades of dedication to the sport and the youth of his community, and with the next generation of wrestlers emerging, including one grandchild competing for Stanford University and three others just beginning their own journeys, Chris felt it was time to entrust the future to new hands.

Ernie’s journey in the world of wrestling commenced in 1969, marking the inception of a lifelong devotion to the sport. Hailing from Santa Maria, California, he honed his skills at Santa Maria High School, where he grappled for four years. His prowess on the mat shone bright, clinching top spots in the CIF thrice and securing the coveted CIF Championship in 1972.

Eager to continue his wrestling odyssey, Ernie ventured to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he wrestled under the tutelage of Coach Vaughn Hitchcock during 1973-74. His dedication and commitment didn’t go unnoticed, culminating in a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Recreation Administration from Cal Poly.

Fuelled by an unwavering passion for the sport, Ernie transitioned seamlessly into coaching, serving as an assistant coach at Santa Maria High School for three years (1975-1978) before taking up a similar role at Righetti High School for four years (1995-1999).

In 1975, Ernie embarked on a new endeavor as a wrestling official, mentored by esteemed figures like Cal Poly Athletic Director Dick Heaton and Coach Hitchcock. Over the span of 47 years, he remained deeply entrenched in the administrative and officiating realms of wrestling, leaving an indelible mark on the sport.

His officiating journey saw him preside over numerous prestigious events, including CIF Division meets for 43 years, the Masters meet in San Joaquin Valley for a decade, and the Southern California Masters meet for 16 years. His expertise was further recognized as he was selected to officiate the CIF State Wrestling Tournament thrice, from 2011 to 2013.

Beyond the mat, Ernie assumed leadership roles within various officials associations, showcasing his organizational acumen and commitment to the wrestling community. He served as the President of the Southern California Officials Association and held a board membership for six years. Additionally, Ernie played pivotal roles as the President and Assistant Instructional Chair for the Los Padres Wrestling Officials Association for three decades and served as the President of the San Joaquin Valley Officials Association for nine years.

Frank’s journey in wrestling began at Tulare Western High School, where he grappled his way through the years 1974 to 1977, earning the distinction of being a three-time Yosemite Division Placer. Continuing his passion, he stepped onto the mats of the College of Sequoias from 1978 to 1979, further honing his skills.

In 1984, Frank returned to his alma mater, Tulare Western HS, this time as an assistant Varsity Wrestling coach, a role he passionately held until 1989. However, it was in 1990 that he embarked on a new chapter, accepting the prestigious position of Head Wrestling Coach at Dos Palos High School, where he dedicated an impressive 28 years of his life before retiring in 2021.

Throughout his illustrious coaching career, Frank amassed a remarkable record of 388 wins and a mere 62 losses in duals competition. Under his guidance, his teams clinched an astounding 20 league titles in the North Sequoia League and later in the West Sierra League. Furthermore, he led his wrestlers to claim 8 Sierra-Sequoia Valley titles in the years 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2006. His coaching prowess was evident as 90 of his wrestlers qualified for the CIF State Meet, with 7 achieving the prestigious status of State Medalist, including one Finalist.

Impressively, these accomplishments were achieved at a school with an enrollment of just 700 students. Frank’s dedication extended beyond the wrestling mat; he served as the league representative for both the NSL and the WSL during his tenure. Even after retiring from his head coaching role, Frank remained actively involved as an assistant coach and mentor in the wrestling program at DPHS. He continues to spearhead the Dos Palos Invitational Wrestling Tournament, the third-longest active tournament in California.

Beyond the high school level, Frank’s mentorship has left an indelible mark on the Jr. High wrestling program, where he also led teams to league titles. His influence further extends to the off-season youth program within the community, where he imparts his knowledge and passion for the sport.

Having resided in the Dos Palos community for 34 years, Frank’s commitment to wrestling and community involvement remains unwavering. Although retired from the district after 31 years of service, he continues to actively engage in various youth programs, particularly in the realm of wrestling, leaving a lasting legacy of dedication and inspiration.

Grover clinched the prestigious title of NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Champion at 177 pounds in 1951, while proudly representing Oklahoma State University. Following this accomplishment he transitioned into coaching, guiding talented individuals like Tommy Chesbro at Stillwater High School. Grover journey in wrestling education continued as he assumed the role of Assistant Wrestling Coach at East Bakersfield High in 1958, eventually ascending to the position of Head Wrestling Coach in 1960.

His dedication to nurturing wrestling talent saw him take on the mantle of Head Wrestling Coach at Foothill High in Bakersfield from 1966 to 1970, where he fostered a culture of excellence and sportsmanship among aspiring athletes.

Beyond coaching, he dedicated a significant portion of his career to officiating wrestling matches at both the high school and college levels, contributing to the fair play and integrity of the sport.

In recognition of his lifelong contributions to wrestling, he was honored with induction into the USA Wrestling Hall of Fame – Oklahoma Chapter. Additionally, in 2004, Grover was humbled to receive the Edward Gallagher Award, an accolade presented to distinguished OSU wrestling alumni who epitomize the spirit and leadership synonymous with the tradition of champions.

Jim Poteete’s journey through the world of wrestling is a testament to resilience and determination. Starting with no prior wrestling experience, Jim’s ascent in the sport is a tale of overcoming formidable challenges and achieving remarkable feats.

His high school wrestling career began modestly, with Jim grappling in just 13 JV matches during his freshman year. However, by his sophomore year, he had already proven his mettle by securing a commendable fourth place in the section, triumphing over the two-time section champion.
Undeterred by setbacks, Jim soared to new heights in his junior year, clinching victories in the league, divisional, and section championships. Although his performance at the state meet yielded a 2-2 record, it was evident that Jim was destined for greatness.

His Senior year marked the pinnacle of Jim’s high school wrestling career. With an impressive record of 36-1, he swept through the league, divisional, and section championships, ultimately claiming the state title at 123 lbs.

Yet, Jim’s most remarkable achievement transcends accolades and victories. A catastrophic neck injury threatened to derail his dreams of becoming a California state champion wrestler. However, Jim’s indomitable spirit and unwavering resolve led him to petition for a redshirt year, becoming the first California prep athlete to do so. Jim’s perseverance paid off as he returned to the mat stronger than ever, outscoring opponents and showcasing his unwavering determination. His journey exemplifies the transformative power of resilience and the unwavering support of mentors like Gene Walker and Mike Stricker, as well as his father, Dennis Poteete.

Following his high school success, Jim continued his wrestling journey at Cal State Bakersfield. However, adversity struck once again when he was attacked by a gang, sustaining life-threatening injuries. Despite the challenges, Jim’s resilience never faltered, and he transitioned into coaching, guiding and mentoring young athletes for over eight years.

His coaching tenure, particularly at Golden Valley High School, brought immense fulfillment and joy. Working alongside dedicated mentors like Aaron Wherry and Joe Rojas. In reflecting on his journey, Jim’s words resonate deeply: “The last 5 years at Golden Valley High School have been the most rewarding years of my athletic career.” For Jim Poteete, the true measure of success lies not in individual victories, but in the lasting impact he leaves on the lives of others.

Joe’s journey into wrestling commenced at South Bakersfield High School, where he distinguished himself as a two-time South Yosemite League placer, ultimately clinching the coveted title in 1965. His prowess extended to the CIF Central Section, where he secured notable placements, finishing 4th and 2nd. Continuing his wrestling odyssey, Joe grappled his way through the Air Force Academy, Bakersfield College, and Colorado State University, leaving an indelible mark at each institution. At Bakersfield College, he emerged as a formidable force, achieving the distinction of a two-time State JC runner-up.

Transitioning from athlete to mentor, Joe assumed the role of assistant Wrestling Coach at Bakersfield before embarking on a pioneering journey to establish the wrestling program at Highland High in Bakersfield in 1972. Over the ensuing years, his leadership propelled the team to unprecedented success. Between 1972 and 1979, his teams clinched three South Yosemite League Championships and secured two runner-up titles. In the Yosemite Divisional, his teams consistently ranked in the top three for five consecutive years, while in the CIF Central Section, they remained in the top four for an impressive seven-year stretch, culminating in a memorable CIF Championship victory for Highland.

Even in retirement, Joe’s passion for wrestling remained undiminished. He returned to the mat as the walk-on Head Coach at West Bakersfield, dedicating five years to nurturing the next generation of grapplers. Beyond the confines of the wrestling arena, Joe played a pivotal role in shaping the sport’s landscape in Kern County. As one of the founding members of the Kern County Wrestling Association and the Coyote Club Amateur Wrestling, he held various leadership positions, including President, leaving an enduring legacy of commitment and excellence in the wrestling community.

John’s passion for wrestling ignited during his time at Cal Poly from 1964 to 1968, where he witnessed Vaughn Hitchcock’s legendary teams. Even after graduating in 1970 and serving in the Army reserves, his devotion to the sport endured. Throughout the mid-seventies, he increased his involvement, supporting the team financially and attending numerous duals and tournaments.

In 1983, John’s dedication caught the attention of Athletic Director Dick Heaton, who brought him on board as a volunteer assistant. Over the next eighteen years, he worked closely with Lennis Cowell, handling travel arrangements, maintaining statistics, and accompanying the teams on their journeys.

His commitment extended to supporting Coach John Azevedo for eight years, managing travel logistics and statistical data. John also lent his expertise to Coaches Buckley and Siridas during his first year. Additionally, he played a pivotal role in bolstering Cuesta College Wrestling and assisting Coach Joe Dansby in organizing tournaments for several years.

Matt Olejnik’s journey in wrestling commenced in 1975 at Hyde Jr High in Cupertino. By 1976, he clinched the Santa Clara Jr High Wrestling Championships at 80lbs, marking his emergence as a formidable talent. This success paved the way for his illustrious career.

Throughout his tenure at Cupertino High School, Olejnik showcased his prowess as a four-year varsity wrestler. His crowning achievement came in 1981 when, as a Senior, he secured the titles of league, region, and CCS Champion, etching his name in Cupertino High School history as its inaugural State Champion.

In 1982, Matt accepted an athletic scholarship from San Jose State. His talents were further recognized on the international stage when he represented the U.S. on the Junior World Greco Roman Team in Budapest, Hungary.

Transitioning to Cal State Bakersfield in 1984, Matt continued to excel. In 1986, he attained the prestigious status of Division II All American, finishing fourth for the Roadrunners with a notable 29-9 record in his senior year. Despite falling short in the Olympic trials, Matt’s competitive spirit remained undiminished.

Post-graduation in 1987 with a BS in Physical Education, Olejnik embarked on his coaching odyssey at James Logan High School. His coaching prowess blossomed further when he assumed the role of head coach at Overfelt High School in 1990. Matt’s coaching journey saw him lead teams to four CCS team titles across two different schools. His tenure at San Benito High School in Hollister saw remarkable success, including three CCS team titles and an impressive MBL dual meet record of 80-9.

Relocating to Bakersfield in 2008 with a burgeoning family, Matt spearheaded the wrestling program at Mira Monte High School, clinching the Freeway League title within a year. A pivotal moment in his coaching career came in 2011 when he assumed a role at Bakersfield High School. Throughout his tenure, Olejnik’s commitment to the sport shone brightly, evident in his initiation of the Rumble for the Rig tournament and the tradition of awarding hand-painted Hard Hats to outstanding wrestlers.

In 2023, after 37 years of teaching and coaching, Olejnik concluded his remarkable career at Del Oro High School in Bakersfield. Reflecting on his journey, he credits his wife and daughters for their unwavering support and sacrifices. Among his proudest moments is witnessing his son, Izzak, achieve NCAA Division I All-American status twice, a testament to the enduring legacy of Coach Matt Olejnik.

Wrestling has been Coach Juarez’s enduring passion since his high school days, where he dedicated four years to the sport at Sanger High School, graduating with the class of 1980. Transitioning to Fresno State, he continued his wrestling journey, remaining an integral part of the program until he redshirted in 1984, returning with renewed vigor for his senior year in 1985.

Upon obtaining his teaching credential, Coach Juarez made a conscious decision to return to his alma mater, Sanger High, assuming the role of an assistant coach. By 1986, he ascended to the position of head coach, overseeing a period marked by remarkable achievements. Under his guidance, 10 wrestlers earned placements, with an additional 18 qualifying for the state tournament. The legacy of Sanger Wrestling is encapsulated by a blue and white board bearing the names of only 10 state placers—a testament to Coach Juarez’s influence and the program’s excellence.

Coach Juarez’s impact extends beyond the confines of the wrestling mat, playing a pivotal role in the growth of the sport within the community of Sanger. His commitment to service and outreach has been instrumental in fostering opportunities for countless individuals. Through initiatives like the “Sanger Warpath,” he actively sought out budding wrestlers, providing unwavering support and mentorship to nurture their potential both in sport and in life.

After 33 years of dedicated service to the Sanger Unified School District, Coach Juarez made the decision to retire from teaching. However, his dedication to wrestling remains undiminished as he assumes the role of assistant volunteer coach, collaborating closely with his son, Narciso Juarez, who now leads the team as head coach. In his continued involvement, Coach Juarez exemplifies a legacy of passion, mentorship, and community impact that defines his tenure in Sanger.

Ruben’s journey in the world of wrestling began during his high school years at Arvin High School, where he discovered his passion for the sport. This passion led him to continue wrestling at Bakersfield Jr. College and later at San Fernando Valley State College. Following his service in the United States Marine Corps, Ruben returned to pursue his education and athletic career at California State University, Northridge.

In 1975, Ruben achieved his dream of teaching and coaching at his alma mater. Alongside coaching wrestling, he also mentored frosh-soph football players and served as a trainer/taper for the junior varsity and varsity teams. Additionally, he established and coached a successful weightlifting program. Under his guidance, the wrestling program at his school flourished, securing two league championships and producing twenty-five league champions.

Despite facing adversity in 1982 when he was involved in a tragic multi-car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down, Ruben remained dedicated to his profession. His resilience and passion for coaching led to remarkable achievements, with eighteen wrestlers qualifying at the Valley level and twelve earning place finishes. He also coached thirteen wrestlers to the State level, with four achieving placements. Ruben’s influence extended beyond his own school, as former wrestlers went on to compete at the NCAA II level and in the Espoir Nationals, with many continuing into coaching roles themselves.

Known as the “Dean of Kern County Wrestling,” Ruben played a pivotal role in the development of wrestling in the region. He actively recruited and coached teams in the Kern County Jr. Wrestling Program and organized the Bakersfield/Arvin/Christmas Quadrangular Meets for numerous years. He was a staunch advocate for the sport and supported Kern County Wrestling through his involvement with the Coyote Club. Ruben’s dedication and contributions to wrestling were recognized through various honors, including being named Bakersfield Californian Wrestling Coach of the Year, an inductee into the Bear Booster Athletic Hall of Fame, and receiving the California Coaches’ Association High School Wrestling Coach of the Year award.

In 1994, due to health reasons and a desire to spend more time with his young sons, Ruben retired from coaching. Sadly, he passed away in 2000, leaving behind a legacy of determination, passion, and profound impact on the wrestling community.

During his time at the University of Iowa, he showcased his prowess on the wrestling mat as a varsity wrestler for four consecutive years, eventually ascending to the role of team captain in 1948.

Transitioning to a coaching career, he served as a mentor at Roosevelt High School from 1957 to 1966, where he not only coached wrestling but also football. His coaching journey continued at McLane High School from 1967 to 1971.

Throughout his coaching tenure, his teams achieved remarkable success, clinching the title of Fresno City Champions an impressive five times and securing second place once. Additionally, his leadership led to triumphs in the NYL (North Yosemite League) Championships twice, with three second-place finishes. His teams also claimed Division Championships twice, with one second-place finish. In the Valley Championships, they consistently placed among the top ranks, achieving third, fourth, fifth, and sixth positions on two occasions. Furthermore, his coaching prowess extended beyond local competitions, with notable performances in NorCal (Northern California), Cal Poly, and Fresno State competitions.

His remarkable contributions to the sport earned him induction into the prestigious National Wrestling Hall of Fame, where his legacy continues to inspire generations of wrestlers and coaches alike.

Winfred embarked on his journey in the world of wrestling as a coach at North High School in Bakersfield, commencing in 1957 and concluding his coaching tenure in 1968. Hailing from Missouri, Winfred’s athletic pursuits initially led him to semi-professional football and later boxing during his service in the Navy, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander before transitioning to civilian life. Leveraging the opportunities provided by the GI Bill, he earned his degree from UC Berkeley.

Upon settling in Bakersfield in 1957, Winfred found himself captivated by the region’s charm. At North High School, he dedicated himself to teaching and coaching, actively recruiting young talent to bolster the wrestling team. Despite not having wrestled himself, Winfred immersed himself in learning, devouring every book and attending numerous clinics to refine his coaching expertise for the benefit of his athletes. His efforts extended beyond the high school realm, as he played a pivotal role in nurturing the North of the River youth program, which served as a vital feeder system for the high school team.

Throughout his coaching career, Winfred’s impact transcended the wrestling mat. He cherished the relationships forged with his wrestlers, finding joy in their achievements long after they left his tutelage. In 1968, Winfred bid farewell to his coaching role, leaving behind a legacy of excellence within the Kern High School District. However, his involvement with wrestling persisted, as he continued to contribute through officiating and supporting initiatives like the establishment of the Coyote Club. After dedicating 33 years to educating and inspiring young minds, Winfred retired from teaching in 1990, fondly reminiscing about his cherished days at North High School.

2024 Hall of Fame Honorees

Interview | Speech

Allyn began wrestling as a freshman in 1965 and began wrestling on the varsity team. He struggled the first two years of competition and received very encouraging advise from his coach-which helped him get through the beginning of the sport. By the time he reached his junior year he was beginning to get the hang of the sport and Allyn placed 3rd in the CIF Central Section Tournament and the following year he won the Central Section Championships. During the summer of his senior year, he wrestled in the Junior nationals and placed third. After high school Allyn wrestled for Cal Poly and placed in three NCAA 2 National Tournaments, 5th in 1971, 3rd in 1972 and 2nd in 1973. He also placed 4th at the NCAA 1 National Championships. During that year he was selected to wrestle in the East/West All Star meet. Upon graduation from Cal Poly Allyn continued his wrestling career with the Athletes in Action, were he placed 4th in the Freestyle Open Nationals and 5th in the 1976 Olympic Trials. Allyn has continued to help his sons in wrestling as well as other wrestlers in the Tulare area.

Interview | Speech

Chris became a member of the famous USA Wrestling Club The Farm Boyz in the city of Lemoore, which was a feeder club into Lemoore High School. Chris became a two-time state placer placing fourth in 1999 and winning the championship in 2000 where he was awarded the Dave Schultz Award for being the Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament. His senior year record was 68-2 with 58 falls and was named to the First Team All-American by Wrestling USA Magazine.

In his time as a student-athlete at Oklahoma State, Pendleton was considered one of the top athletes in the sport. A two-time NCAA Champion 2004 and 2005, and a three-time All-American selection at 174 pounds, Pendleton led Oklahoma State to three consecutive NCAA team championships in 2003, 2004 and 2005, while accumulating an overall collegiate record of 118-12. Pendleton was also the Big 12 champion in his weight class in both 2003 and 2005. Chris continued his wrestling where he was a three-time United States National Team member, 2013 World Team Trials Runner Up, 2013 US Open Runner Up, 2012 Olympic Team Trials finalist.

Chris became an assistant coach at the University of Wyoming where during his time at Wyoming, the Cowboys made great strides. He then went to Arizona State as an assistant, during the six-year stop in Tempe, he solidified himself as one of the premier coaches in the country. Chris was then named to be the head coach at Oregon State University beginning in the 2020-21 season. He is now going into his fourth year as the head coach and has already solidified the rich tradition of winning at OSU. His teams have placed highly in the Pac-12 with a team championship in 2023 and has had a 12th place finish in the NCAA Division I Championships in 2022. Chris was also named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year.

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Dan Pry began his wrestling career in the Southern Section at Simi Valley HS, where he was a Southern Section Champion in 1965 and he continued his wrestling career at Cal Poly SLO on the National Championship Team. He then began his coaching career at Newbury HS for nine years. Dan then moved to Atascadero HS, home of the Greyhounds,, in 1983 where he took over a struggling program. Since 1983, Atascadero wrestling has had 146 CIF place winners and 7 state place winners. When Dan came to Atascadero High School wrestling had not won a league championship in 5 years, since that year they have won league championships every year, but 5. Dan Pry’s teams won 7 CIF championships (84, 85, 86, 87, 89 & 2 in 95 (individual & dual championship) as a head coach and 4 more as an assistant (03,04,09,10). 6 times Atascadero Wrestling has finished as CIF runner-ups (88, 99, 02, 07, 08 & 09). Dan Pry has not only coached wrestling, but 15 years of frosh football, 10 years of boys tennis, & 10 years of girls tennis- Dan has coached it all with great success. “It does not matter what he coaches, he has an ability to get the most out of his athletes and give them the tools to win”

The real strength of Dan Pry’s legacy is the family concept he has instilled in Atascadero. Dan had become the heart of Atascadero Wrestling. He has built, established and nurtured a framework for wrestling in the community, a thriving opportunity for young people to experience benefits of participation in the great sport of wrestling. Dan created an environment where relationships were as important as the skills learned. Dan used wrestling as a medium to bring families and individuals together to strive toward something bigger than any individual.

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Darrel began his wrestling career at the age of nine, after watching his two older brothers participating in practice and matches. It was watching them grow in their love for the sport that sparked a
flame in Darrell’s heart for the sport. While he never being pushed to participate in wrestling by his family, Darrel was encouraged by his father to set goals for himself, which he did beginning at the age of 12. Those lofty goals included becoming the first freshman state champion and eventually becoming the first 4-time CIF State Wrestling Champion. From that point forward Darrel began to work hard and never doubted that if he continued to focus and drive hard that he would attain those goals.

In 1999 Darrel achieved the first of many of his goals. He became the first freshman to win the CIF State Wrestling Championships at the age of 13. This achievement catapulted Darrel to strive harder to attain the 3 remaining state titles. His junior year was most challenging because he was facing another opponent who was trying to attain his own goal of becoming the first 4 time state champion and they faced off in the finals in 2001. Darrel won that match and went on to win his third and fourth title, becoming the first wrestler to win 4 CIF State Championships in 2002. He was selected two times as the Dave Schultz Champion of Champions Award at the CIF State Championships. Darrel’s high school record was 204-7 with 47 falls.
Darrel continued his wrestling At Cal Poly and amassed a record of 82-15. He was 2 time NCAA All American, a 3 time PAC 12 placer. Darrel finished his wrestling career placing 1st in the 2008 Northeast Olympic Team Qualifer before suffering a career ending injury. He became the Assistant Coach at Harvard University for 2 seasons, were he mentored 2 All Americans and an NCAA Champion.

Ed began wrestling at Fresno HS where he lettered in 1957 and 1958. He then went on to Fresno City College where he competed from 1959 to 1961 winning numerous invitational tournaments along with the 1961 California JC Regional and State Championships. He then went on to Fresno State College and was a member of the first established team in 1961. He again won numerous invitational tournaments along with the California Athletic Association Championships in 1962 and 1963. He was also named the MOW and Fastest Fall Award in both tournaments. Ed’s collegiate record during his time at Fresno City and Fresno State was 99-1.

Ed became an educator and coach graduating from Fresno State with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and an MA and PhD from Michigan State. He began teaching/coaching wrestling and golf at Clovis HS in 1966 to 1971. He then went on to Okinawa where he coached wrestling, golf, soccer, football and baseball at the DOD schools. He was a teacher, coach and administrator in DOD living in Okinawa, Japan, Korea and the Philippines until 1996. In Korea Ed’s school where he was principal was awarded an Excellence in Education recognition by President Ronald Reagan in 1985. He has been inducted into the Fresno City College, Fresno High and Fresno State Wrestling Halls of Fame as well as the Okinawa Coach of the Year.

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Eugene was a three sport athlete at South Bakersfield High School, football, wrestling and baseball. His true passion was in the sport of wrestling. Gene attended South Bakersfield where he was a member of two time CIF Valey Championships team. Gene placed twice in the South Yosemite League winning the title in 1967. He was also a three-time Central Section placer, while winning the championship title in 1967. Gene also won the AAU Junior World State Championships and the AAU Western Section title.

Gene went on to Bakersfield College,, where he was a member of State JC Championship Team. He was a two time JC All -American placing 3rd in 1969 and 1970, while amassing a 58-9 record. He then went on to Idaho State University where was a 2-time Big Sky Champion, a MIWA Champion and wrestled in the NCAA Championships.

Gene began his coaching career at Cal State Bakersfield and transitioned to South Bakersfield HS where he was the head coach from 1977-1993. During that tenure of 17 years, his teams won 5 SYL championships, 2 Valley Championships and a 4th place and 9th place at the CIF State Championships. Gene’s had wrestlers who achieved at the highest level: 28 state qualifiers, 9 state placers and 1 CIF state champion, 37 Valley Placers, 36 SYL Champions. Gene was also named two times as the Kern County Coach of the Year. Gene was inducted into the South High Rebel hall of Fame.

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Florencio had a late start in the world of wrestling at Bakersfield High School. He was recruited by another Hall of Fame Inductee, Olan Polite out of Olan’s PE class in Florencio’s sophomore year, That year he won the SYL League JV championships and never looked back. In his junior year and senior year he placed 3rd and 2nd in the Central Section Championships. In his senior year he placed 3rd in the CIF State Championships. His s high school career record was 76-7. Florencio went on the Bakersfield College and amassed a record of 63-4, winning the 1974 & 1975 JC Regional Championships and placing 2nd and 1st in the JC State Championship and was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler in 1974. He then went on to Cal State Bakersfield where he accumulated a overall record of 78-11, placing 3rd in the NCAA Division 2 Championships in 1976 and winning the NCAA Division 2 Championships in 1977 and placing 4th in the NCAA Division 1 Championships that same year.

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Floyd was born and raised in Porterville where he was a senior at Porterville HS on track to graduate in 1965, when he heard a higher calling to serve his country in the Army. He ended up in Vietnam in the middle of the war, as a 19-year-old in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. Floyd ended up in Germany where he began training in Greco Roman program in the Army wrestling club. He eventually joined the official Army Team and competed in the 1972 World Military Championships in Turkey, where he earned the very first United States Gold Medal in Greco-Roman wrestling in international competition. Floyd wrestling career continued with him winning a total of 4 Military World Championships medals.

Floyd continued his career in wrestling as the coach of the All Army Team for 8 years where they won 2 National Championships and 4 times runner ups. He has been on the USA National Coaching Staff for the past 29 years, asst coaching the 1984 & 1988 Olympic Greco Roman Teams as well as coaching USA teams in World and International competition.

Floyd was awarded an honorary diploma from Porterville HS as a member of the Class of 1965. He was one of the key people in developing the Class of 1965 Vietnam Memeorial Scholarship awarded to local high school students.

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Franz had an outstanding high school wrestling career at Shafter High School. He placed 3 times in the South Sequoia League winning it in 1973 & 1974 as well as placing 2 times at the Central Section Divisional which moved him on to the state CIF Championships. He was a two time CIF State medalist placing 3rd in 1973 and 6th in 1972. Franz went on to wrestle for Bakersfield College where he was a two time state JC placer 1975 & 1976, winning the State JC title in 1976. He then went on to Cal State Bakersfield where he amassed a record of 89-7-2. Franz won the NCAA D2 National Championships in 1977 on was awarded the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the tournament, then went on to place 3rd at the NCAA Division 1 Championships. He placed two times at the NCAA Division 2 and Division 1 Championships.

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Lorenzo’s outstanding high school athletic career was at Lemoore High School where he played football and wrestled. In football he excelled as a running back and was awarded the CIF Central Section football player of the year and was also recognized at the CAL-HI Athlete of the Year and a High School All American. As a high school wrestler Lorenzo won the CIF Central Section division and section championships 3 times. He then went on to the state championships where he was a three time placer, 4th, 2nd and winning the state title in 1989. His senior year Lorenzo also placed third at the USA Wrestling Junior Nationals in both styles of freestyle and Greco-Roman.
When Lorenzo began attending Fresno State, he was one of those rare athletes who could compete at a high level in two sports-football and wrestling. He wrestled at heavyweight and won the WAC two times and placed 7th at the 1992 NCAA Division1 National Championships. In Lorenzo’s four football college seasons, he rushed for 2,405 yards and he was an All-Big West selection his junior and senior seasons. Lorenzo was selected in the fourth round (89th overall) of the 1993 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He then went on to play 16 seasons in the NFL and was named to the Pro Bowl on 4 different occasions, as well as the USA Today All-Joe Team 4 times and was considered one of the best blocking fullback in the NFL.

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Pat began his wrestling career in Southern California at the age of 5. His high school accomplishments included a 2nd place in the CIF Southern Section as well as a 5th place finish at the CIF State Championships. He then went to San Jose State where he was a three time letterman and placed two times in the PCAA, 4th as a freshman and 3rd as a sophomore. He then transferred to Cal State Bakersfield where he continued to wrestle for TJ Kerr where he won the CCAA Championships and then was the NCAA Division 2 National Cham[pion. Pat has coached in Kern County for 33 years at Shafter HS, East Bakersfield Hs as well as Bakersfield College. He has the opportunity to coach many NCAA All Americans, JC State Champions and CIF State placers. He is very proud to have helped begin one of the first girls wrestling program in the state at Shafter HS.

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Robert’s high school career began at Madera High School where he was a Valley Champion, wrestling at 126 pounds. He then went on to Fresno City College and became a two time State JC Champion again wresting at 126 pounds. Robert transferred to Fresno State where he graduated with a degree in Physical Education. This degree provided Robert a vehicle to define his true passion in the world of wrestling, coaching the youth in the Central Valley. For 35 years, from 1977 to 2011, Robert coached at all levels as an assistant and head coach including junior high all the way to the collegiate ranks. His head coaching positions were at Fresno City College, Madera South HS, Madera HS, Delano HS and Central HS. He was the assistant at Fresno City College, Porterville HS and Martin Luther King Junior High. When Robert was the Fresno City College Assistant Coach, he was named Assistant Coach of the year three times, 1989, 1994, 1998. He then became the head coach at Fresno City College and his teams won two JC State championships. Robert was inducted into the Fresno Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2017 and honored for his Wrestling and Coaching Career.
In addition, he was inducted to the Madera Hall of Fame in 2018 along with his teammates from the 1969 Wrestling Team. And lastly, Robert was honored in 2023 by Madera South High School by naming their annual wrestling tournament after him as the Robert Arballo Holiday Hammer Memorial Wrestling Tournament.

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Sheri’s wrestling career began in her home where she was being raised in a household of two brothers who wrestled and were very successful at Turlock High School. She tussled, watched and learned from her brothers because she was a good athlete and wanted to survive. Unfortunately, there was no avenue at that time for her to compete in the high school environment. Sheri was already an outstanding athlete and she competed in softball and was a rodeo competitor. In the rodeo scene she and her partner won the Team Roping at the Women’s National Finals Rodeo. Individually she won the California Cowboys Rodeo Association Breakaway Roping on three different occasions. Sheri wrestling career began coaching with her husband at Chowchilla Middle and High School as well as the Chowchilla Wrestling Club. The club program had great success winning state and national championships. When she had the opportunity to compete in wrestling, she went to her first USA Wrestling National Championships and became a National Champion. Her wrestling career began to blossom through attending Vaughn Hitchcock Camps, and she began to seriously train with Walter Ulrich. Sheri’s regiment was running, lifting and practicing 5-6 days a week, which paid off in winning 2 more national titles, runner up once, a Pan American Title and a World Championship medal. Like many other women at this time, there were not many opportunities to succeed, but Sheri found a way and flourished in the sport of wrestling.

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Yero had an outstanding wrestling career beginning at Porterville HS. During his high school career, Yero was a 1992 CIF champion and 1992 State champion. During his time at Fresno City College, he placed 2nd in the 1993 State Community College Championships and became a State Community College Champion in 1994. At Fresno State, he placed 6th in 1996 and 3rd in 1997 at the Division I NCAA Wrestling Championships. In 1998, he earned 2nd place in the U.S. Open and 2nd in the World Team trials in men’s freestyle wrestling. In 1999, he was a Freestyle World Cup Team Member, placing 4th in the U.S. Open, 4th in the World Team Trials. Yero placed 5th in the Olympic Team Trials in 2000, 4th in the U.S. Open in 2003, 5th in the U.S. Open in 2004, and placed top 8 at the 2004 Olympic Team Trials.

Yero was an Assistant Wrestling Coach at Columbia University from 2002 to 2008 and an Assistant Wrestling Coach at Iowa State University from 2009 to 2012.

Yero is currently dedicated to giving back to the sport and young athletes, serving as the Executive Director of the highly successful Beat the Streets-Los Angeles, Inc.