GREENVILLE – Greenville celebrated the 50th anniversary of its wrestling program Thursday with its alumni, including several from the original team.
Greenville was among the many Southwest Ohio schools that began wrestling programs during the 1960s. The sport started in Greenville as part of the physical education classes in the 1965-66 school year.
The Green Wave had their first year of competition during the 1966-67 season. The Wave, who were led by head coach Randy Whitehead and assistant coach Harold Green, had 20 wrestlers in that inaugural season.
Eight of the members of the 1996-67 team were able to attend Thursday’s ceremony: juniors Terry Coby, Fred Dohse, Jim King, Joel Schinke, Stan Stebbins and Fred Varsanyi; and sophomores Steve Wilson and Kent Zechar.
Unable to attend were senior Jerry Bish; juniors Dennis Brown, Terry Shoup, Rick Straker and Greg Weider; and sophomores Jack Nichols and Ted Dohse. Five team members have died: seniors Lonnie Brown and Joe Hanish; junior Rick Holdeman; and sophomores John Harless and Mike Rhoades.
Also in attendance was Whitehead, a 1966 graduate of Miami University. The former Green Wave coach went on to coach at the college level as an assistant at Boston State College and as the head coach of the Boston University club wrestling team. He also served 10 years as the head coach at Chelmsford High School in Massachusetts, winning three state championships and one New England team championship.
“It means a lot for him to come down and get recognized for that,” current Greenville head coach David Guillozet said of Coach Whitehead visiting Greenville along with some of his former wrestlers. “It’s a big deal. Fifty years is a long time. I’m proud to be here for the 50th.”
Along with Whitehead, Greenville recognized the other coaches in its half century of wrestling: Gene Cullers, David Cummings, Kyle Kagey, John Shutts and Guillozet. They all were in attendance along with dozens of current and former Greenville wrestlers.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.