Wrestling in the Real World
It was Friday, February 27, 1987 when Coach Buzz Evans and his friends were driving away from a long day of wrestling at the West Virginia State Wrestling Championships. That year it was being held at the Wheeling (now Wesbanco) Civic Center.
As they were driving down the streets of Wheeling, Steve Shaffer and Ron White, sitting in the back of the car, saw a mugger hit and snatch a girl's purse. They immediately jumped out of the car in pursue of the culprit, but lost him in an alley.
Coach Evans was in the front of the car, and suggested to Ron Abraham, driving the car, to swing around the other side of the alley to cut him off. It was a wise decision because they found the mugger running toward the viaduct by West Virginia Northern Community College.
Before continuing this tale, allow me to digress a bit to tell you about Buzz Evans' past. He was a former OVAC Champion and All-State wrestler for Bellaire St. Johns High School. At West Liberty State College, his success on the mats continued, being crowned a West Virginia Conference Champion his senior year. He also spent some time in the U.S. Marine Corps. Now I ask you, would you want this man upset with you. I think not.
The athletic Coach Evans easily caught up with the mugger, as he was rummaging through the lady's purse. He quickly pinned the culprit to the viaduct wall. As the criminal attempted to reach for his pocket, Evans grabbed the miscreant's wrist with one hand and throttled his throat with the other.
Coach Evans calmly, but forcefully suggested, "I want you to slowly pull out whatever you have in your pocket and drop it. The thief did what he was told and a knife fell to the ground, as White, Abraham and Shaffer (holding a slab of concrete) reached them.
Buzz and his friends escorted the man to the Wheeling Police Station on Chapline Street. The officers present shook their heads, smiled, but were very impressed by this "citizens' arrest."
For their chivalry, they received the following citation from the Sheriff of the City of Wheeling:
" . . . Your willingness to perform such a courageous act and to come to the aid of your follow man during a time of crisis says much about you as individuals . . . I believe this sends a message that criminal activity will not be tolerated in our Ohio Valley."There is a lesson to be learned from this two-part series on wrestling coaches in action. Don't mess with them on the streets. A dedicated wrestler's mental mettle, athletic attributes, and physical prowess are second to none.