National Wrestling Hall of Fame
PA Chapter to honor Nine in 2017
Pennsylvania Chapter president Ann (Peery) Ritter is proud to announce the 24th Class for induction into the PA Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for spring of 2017. The date of the banquet is April 30, 2017, the site is the Hershey Lodge. For additional information contact Lloyd Rhoades, PA Chapter, at 814-933-0121 or email@example.com. To purchase tickets Click Here
In her remarks, Ritter stated, “Again this year our state committee selected another great class of Honorees to be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame via the Pennsylvania Chapter. Each year I continue to be amazed at the caliber of the nominees. Every year the selection process is difficult, since only a few people can be honored each year, and so many have dedicated a lifetime to service our great sport. This just shows the depth of quality of amateur wrestling, especially in Pennsylvania. Congratulations to the following members of the Class of 2017.” The Inductees are:
Lifetime Service to Wrestling Awards
Mike Clair – Mike has been involved with wrestling since his high school years at Manheim Central High School. He served as the student manager of both the wrestling team and the football team. Mike took a break from wrestling when he was on active duty in the Air Force, serving our country for two years. Mike spent over 50 years of his time working as a volunteer administrator for local wrestling teams and clubs. Mike became interested in the National Wrestling Coaches Association and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, and he worked along with Stan Zeamer, Austin Bishop and Myron Roderick to create State Chapters as part of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Pennsylvania then became the first chapter for the NWHOF, and Mike was a charter member of the PA Chapter. Mike was then selected to be the first National Director of the State Chapter program, to assist other states to form chapters. Mike served in that position for 21 years, growing 35 State Chapters across the US. He retired at the end of the wrestling season in 2014. Mike also served the NWCA, prior to be employed by the NWHOF. Mike currently resides in Manheim with his wife Jacqueline.
Robert L. Fehrs – Bob graduated from the Milton Hershey School with a 43-4 record, and was a 3X National Prep School Finalist and 2X Outstanding Wrestler. He then graduated from the University of Michigan in 1967 after a very successful wrestling career finishing, 67-6-1. He was a 3X Big Ten Champion and OW in 1966, and was a 3X NCAA Runner-Up, losing all 3 years to the legendary Mike Caruso from Lehigh. Bob is a past Midlands Champ. Bob served as an Assistant Coach at University of Pittsburgh and Harvard University and held Head Coaching positions at Muskegon CC, and North Michigan University before moving to the University of Nebraska, where he had his finest seasons. In seven years as head coach, Bob guided Nebraska to four top 10 NCAA finishes and coached 2 NCAA Champions (Bill Scherr & Jim Scherr both in 1984). He later coached at Milford HS, Lincoln East HS and Milton Hershey School and accomplished a career record 125-59-2 as a Head Coach. Bob has won numerous other awards and in the past year he retired as a school administrator at Milton Hershey School and served as a volunteer assistant. Bob in a member of the PA Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Central Penn All Sports Hall of Fame. Bob currently resides in Grantville with his wife Linda.
Cornelius “Bud” Lindholm (posthumously) – Bud wrestled at Lehigh University. In 1945 he was an EIWA Champion and the Outstanding Wrestler. After college he returned to Northern Jersey to coach and organize wrestling coaches in that area, before returning to Pennsylvania to work his magic. Bud organized youth programs, conducted clinics for coaches and kids, gave personal demonstrations and organized the Berks County Schoolboy Tournament. He was the founder of the Keystone State Games. In 1972 he was the Scholastic Wrestling News “Man of the year.” Bud established new wrestling programs in 30 cities with a populations over 150,000. He developed the structure for the USWF’s National Wrestling Development Committee’s initiative. Bud was a member of numerous county, state and national committees associated with the development of youth. He supported Jr. National Freestyle and Greco development. Bud is a member of the EIWA HOF, The Pennsylvania Wrestling HOF and the Pennsylvania Sports HOF. While at Lehigh he was awarded nine varsity letters, in wrestling, baseball and soccer. He was the captain of each team his senior year. He was a Navy veteran of World War II. Bud passed away in March of 1984.
Paul Packer – Paul attended Lycoming University and had a career record of 6-0 before leaving Lycoming. Paul was a graduate of Bald Eagle Area in 1973 and was the last 95 pound State Champion in 1972. At BEA his record was 42-13 and was undefeated 23-0 in 1972. Paul wrestled for current Hall of Fame coaches Joe Humphreys and Dick Rhoades. Paul was a PIAA Official for 37 years and a EWLOA Official for 30 years. Paul officiated in 5 PIAA State Championships in his career. He is a Past President and rules interpreter of the Charles Goldthorp Chapter of District 6 Wrestling Officials. Paul also was a volunteer coach for the Bald Eagle Wrestling Club for several years while his sons were involved at the elementary level. Paul was inducted into the District Six Hall of Fame in 2008. Paul is currently retired and resides in Milesburg.
Pat Pecora – Pat has been the coach at University of Pittsburgh Johnstown since 1976 and has doubled as Pitt-Johnstown’s Athletic Director since 2008. Pat’s teams have captured 20 NCAA Regional Championships, and in 1996 & 1999 were NCAA Division II National Champions. Pat has been the NCAA Regional Coach of the Year 16 times. Pat’s teams have won 48 team tournaments and 540 dual meets. In 1995 & 1999, Pat was named NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year. Also in 1999, he received the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Coaching Excellence Award, given to the best coach in all divisions. Pat is the Division II Representative for the NWCA for 10 years, and is a member of the NWCA Board of Directors. Pat was also the president of that organization for two terms. He is a member the PA Sports Hall of Fame-East Boro Chapter, the Cambria County HOF, the West Liberty State College HOF, the PA Wrestling Coaches HOF, the NCAA Division II Wrestling HOF, and the Pitt-Johnstown Athletics HOF. In addition, Pat earned the 2008 United States Marine Corps Excellence in Leadership Award. Pat and his wife Tracy reside in Johnstown.
Roger Reina – Roger graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984. He was Team Captain 1983 and 1984, and won Ivy League recognition in 1983 and 1984. Roger was the head wrestling at PENN from 1986-2005, when he resigned to accept a position as the senior major gift officer for Penn Medical Development. He was the most successful coach in the 107 year history of Penn Wrestling compiling a record of 205-106-6. Roger teams won eight Ivy League and four EIWA championships. Penn finished ninth in the 1999 NCAA tournament, and in 2002, PENN finished eleventh. In addition to developing a very successful D1 wrestling program, Roger found time to be active in the NWCA and served one term as President. He is a member of both the University of Pennsylvania Athletic HOF and EIWA HOF. Roger was the Chairman of the local organizing committee for the first NCAA wrestling tournament held in Philadelphia, which set records for attendance and media coverage. He served as Chairman of the local committee for the 2014 NWCA All-Star meet. In summer of 2014, Roger served on the committee that selected Alex Tirapelle as the new Penn wrestling coach. In the 2014-2015 season, he was a volunteer assistant coach at PENN and an advisor to the new coach. He also founded a USA Wrestling Regional Training Center in Philadelphia and is now serving as its Chairman of the Board and President.
Barry Smith – Barry graduated from Mansfield University in 1966 but did not wrestle there. He started his coaching career 1968 as an Assistant Coach at Smethport HS and in 1969, then moved to Governor Mifflin in 1972. Barry was responsible for starting the Berks Mat Club in 1970, and in 1972 he started a Jr High Program at Governor Mifflin. Barry became the varsity Head Coach, 1975-1981. He led his teams to four Berks County Championships, had the first District Three place winner and a State Qualifier. In 1982 and 1983 he was an assistant coach at Millersville University before returning to Governor Mifflin again as Head Coach from 1983-1997. Since 1998, Barry has served on the seeding committee for District Three, Section IV Tournament. He also serves as the MC at several Berks County All Star Wrestling Banquets. Barry is currently on the Board of Directors for the PA Chapter on the NWHOF and assists organizing the Annual Honors Banquets, and chairs for the Chapter’s Annual Golf Outing. Barry is Past President of the Berks County Coaches Association and helped develop the Berks County Team Championship. Barry is a retired teacher, and he and his wife Judith reside in Mohnton.
Outstanding American Awards
William A. Graham – Bill wrestled for and graduated from Bucknell in 1962. He then joined his father’s insurance agency as a Sales Rep and eventually became the sole owner in 1972. From 1970 to 1999, he was President, and currently serves as Chairman and CEO. Bill has been a member of the Philadelphia business community for more than 50 years. Hall of Fame Coach Bob Ferraro stated that Bill Graham was his first alumni phone call when he was named the Bucknell wrestling coach in 1973. Bob asked Bill to help him build a national program, with the assistance of his financial support, and mentorship. Bill visited the Bucknell campus each year to address the team, and conveyed the message why it was wrestling that he credited for his professional career success. He also wrote a generous check each year to the Bucknell Grapplers Club, and always assisted if more money was needed. In the early 1980’s, Bill was the first inductee into the Bucknell Wrestling Hall of Achievement, that honors career success. Bill was also the first inductee into the NHSCA National Hall of Achievement in 1996, which also honors career success. Bill was the sole person responsible for bringing back the Bucknell wrestling program in 2006, after it was dropped in 2002. He recently completed a new wrestling facility for Bucknell, and has donated more than $15M to its wrestling program. Bill has also donated more than $200,000 to the NWCA. In addition, Bill also gives wrestlers the top priority when hiring people for his firm. Bill and his wife Francis reside in Philadelphia.
John C. Thomas – John wrestled at and graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in 1981. While others relegate themselves to expertise in a single field, John is a polymath with expertise in law, labor relations, mediation, arbitration, business, marketing, client service, philosophy, ethics, and social justice. John is recognized nationwide by corporate management, Labor unions, and the federal government as an expert in labor law, dispute resolution, environmental law, and other significant workplace matters. John serves as a catalyst, to bring parties together to acquire, restart or operate refineries, and other energy projects of national interest. The role he serves is part peace-maker and deal maker. Those projects have created thousands of jobs, millions in wages, and have funded union pension and health/welfare programs. Previously, John was the youngest corporate director at both Bechtel Power Corporation and Philadelphia Electric Company. He has been counsel to the Director of Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. He is the standing Arbitrator for the Tennessee Valley Authority Operating System, covering seven states and 235 different local unions. John is the Managing Director for Rothschild Asset Management, the U.S. arm of the legendary world-wide investment banking firm owned by the 200 year old Rothschild family. Many state government and politicians have sought his help in finding solutions facing many governmental entities today. John is a member of the board for PA Chapter of the NWHOF and serves at the Director of the annual Clays for Kids fund raising event. John remains an avid sportsman and enjoys coaching wrestling, football, rugby, skiing, martial arts, sport fishing, horsemanship, golf, and sporting clays. He lives in Chester Springs with his wife, Deborah.