West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

West Virginia State Chapter, National Wrestling Hall of Fame

On November 2, 2003, the West Virginia State Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame held its first annual banquet in Parkersburg. The affair was an immense success.

Some of my readers may be thinking, "Why have a state chapter if a national "Hall" exists in Stillwater, Oklahoma?" Allow me to explain.

The purpose of this program is quite simple -- to honor those West Virginia individuals who have devoted their lives to the promotion of the sport of amateur wrestling. It includes the induction of former wrestlers, coaches, officials, and contributors.

The pinnacle of any person's career dedicated to athletics is permanent recognition of the individual by that sport's hall of fame. The National Wrestling Hall of Fame spotlight state honorees in three categories: Lifetime Service Award (awarded annually), Medal of Courage Award (presented when appropriate), and Outstanding West Virginian Award (presented when appropriate). The criteria for each is as follows.

The "Lifetime Service Award" Program, coordinated by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, is designed to honor and recognize state wrestling people for their years of commitment (at least 25 years) to young people. The award is not about win/loss records. It's about an individual's sustained effort to guide our state's youth not only to succeed in wrestling, but also in life.

The "Medal of Courage Award" is given to a wrestler who has overcome immense adversity to be successful on the mats and in his own life.

The "Outstanding West Virginian Award" is presented to an individual who was a former wrestler and has received state or national acclaim in his/her chosen profession.

The awards recipients are permanently recognized in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum (Stillwater, Oklahoma) with an embossed name plaque. They also receive a personal plaque and jacket to commemorate this special occasion.

We are now looking forward to choosing next year's inductees. Should any wrestling enthusiasts have recommendations for future inductees, please do not hesitate to contact me via the website.

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