NATIONAL WRESTLING HALL OF FAME

West Virginia State Chapter

Board of Directors
President: Bill Archer
Vice Presidents: Garry Bender, Roy Michael
Treasurers: Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Bennett         
Secretary: Diane Archer

Board of Directors
George Keeney, Chairman
Dr. Tim Miller


2008 Inductees

(Additional feature AT THIS LINK)



Jeff Courtney (right) receives his award from National Wrestling Hall of Fame representative Dan Zottarelli, President of the Maryland State Chapter.
Jeffery Courtney -- "Medal of Courage"

Jeffery Courtney graduated from Fairmont Senior High School. His high school record was 156 wins and 25 losses and was a four time state place winner. In 1999, Jeff was a member of U.S.A. Deaf Team at 15 years old. He wrestled in the Pan American Games in Havana, Cuba and won the Gold Medals in Greco Roman and Freestyle. His opponents were from Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela and Uruguay.

In his high-school junior year, Jeff was the Outstanding Wrestler in State Tournament and State Champion at 189 lbs. In 2002, his senior year with a record of 42-0, Jeff was the Outstanding Wrestler in State Tournament and Champion at 171 lbs. He was chosen as the Dutton Award Winner State Wrestler of Year. Jeffery was the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dave Schultz Award High School Wrestling Excellence State Recipient. At the 2002 National Senior High School Tournament, he finished in fourth place.

Jeffery wrestled at West Virginia University 2002-03. In 2003, he wrestled USA Junior World Team Greco 96kg. in Istanbul, Turkey and finished 5th place. From 2004-06, he was a member USOEC Wrestling Team in Northern Michigan University. At the 2005 Sunkist Tournament in Phoenix, Arizona, Jeff finished in 4th Place. In 2007, Jeffery attended Olympic training center, Colorado Springs, Colorado. During 2007-08, he was a residential dormitory counselor at Michigan School for Deaf, Flint Michigan, and organized a wrestling program for the school.

In 2006, Jeffery married Holly Palmer of Moundsville.

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame honors Jeffery Allen Courtney with a "Medal of Courage" award, class of 2008.





Father George Nedeff (right) receives his award from National Wrestling Hall of Fame representative Dan Zottarelli, President of the Maryland State Chapter.
Father George Nedeff, SOLT -- "Outstanding American"

Father George Nedeff graduated from Parkersburg High School in 1959. He was captain of the All State Football Team and State Heavyweight Wrestling Champion in 1958. He also captained the WVU Wrestling Team in 1963. Father George began his football and wrestling coaching career at Big Creek High School, where he started the school's first wrestling program in 1964.

In 1967 he was named Head Wrestling Coach at WVU where he coached the wrestling team for seven seasons with a 58-35-3 record. He became Director of Athletic Facilities at WVU in 1972 through 1997.

He received the Distinguished Service Award presented to Blue Crew members in recognition of his devotion and commitment to the restoration and maintenance of the LST 325 Memorial WWII.

Father George received the Morgantown Touchdown Club Proficiency Award for Excellency in the field of athletics. The George Nedeff Outstanding Wrestler Award was established in his honor in 1990. He also served on the Morgantown's City Council for two terms and one year served as Deputy Mayor.

He was named to the Parkersburg High School Hall of Fame and the WVU Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1990-91, and named to the Mid-Ohio Valley Hall of Fame in 2000.

One of George's proudest awards was the 1996 WVU Presidential Safety Award. This award was given in recognition of his work toward the implementation of the University-Wide Smoke-Free Building Policy creating a safer environment.

Father George was formerly married to Anita Rinehart Nedeff and is the father of two children, George Edward of Greenwood, IN and Cheryl Lewis of Fairmont: two grandchildren, Roman Michael and Tre.

He pursued studies that led to his ordination to the sacred priesthood when he joined the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. He completed his Philosophy studies in Corpus Christi, Texas. His novitiate year was completed in Subiaco, Italy and his Theology at The Angelicum in Rome, Italy. One of his highlights was meeting Pope Benedict XVI while studying in Rome. He was ordained to the sacred priesthood on July 16, 2007 in Corpus Christi by Bishop Emeritus Rene Gracida. Father George is presently Chaplain of Our Lady of Corpus Christi School.

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame honors Father George Nedeff, SOLT with the "Outstanding American" award, class of 2008.



Garry Bender (right) receives his award from National Wrestling Hall of Fame representative Dan Zottarelli, President of the Maryland State Chapter.


Garry Bender -- "Lifetime Service to Wrestling"

Garry Bender attended North Olmsted High School in Cleveland, Ohio, where he began wrestling his sophomore year. Following high school he went on to Ashland College in Ohio and earned four varsity letters and wrestled in three national tournaments under Coach Chris Ford.

After graduation in 1973, Garry began his teaching and coaching career at Woodridge Haigh School in Stowe, Ohio. There he coached football and wrestling for four years, coaching a two time state champ Jerry Burgy.

Bender left Ohio in 1977 and traveled to West Virginia where he coached football, wrestling and baseball at Spencer High School. He received an M.A. in Science from Marshall University. Garry produced his first individual state champ in Spencer with junior Matt Ashley, who also won his senior year, making him West Virginia's first four time state champ.

During his 34 year wrestling career, Bender coached a total of 27 state champs, two of which claimed four titles; Rich Greathouse in 1983-84-85-86 and Todd Kendall in 1987-88-89-90. Kendall was also named the Dutton Award winner in 1990; had 18 runners up and 96 place winners. He was named regional Coach of the Year in 1986-87 and 1989-90; West Virginia High School Coach of the Year in 1984, 1988, and 1990; National Federation of High School Coaches Mideast Sectional Coach of the Year 1990, 2006; LKC Wayne Underwood Coach of the Year 1988, 2006; and was a member of the National Coaches Association for several years.

While at Spencer, Bender, who is currently retired, was named Teacher of the Year in Roane County in 2006 and named a Great Teacher of West Virginia at the 2006 Governor's Honor's Academy in Fairmont.

Garry still resides in Spencer with his wife, Beth. They have two children, Matthew, who is 25 and Lindsey, 20. The National Wrestling Hall of Fame honors Garry Bender with a "Lifetime of Service to Wrestling" award, class of 2008.



Wayne Bennett (right) receives his award from National Wrestling Hall of Fame representative Dan Zottarelli, President of the Maryland State Chapter.
A. Wayne Bennett -- "Lifetime Service to Wrestling"

A. Wayne Bennett graduated from Beckley's Woodrow Wilson High School in 1968 where he participated in cross country, wrestling and track. He received a B.A. degree from Morris Harvey College along with an M.A. degree from the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies and an M.A. from Marshall University.

After coaching two years of wrestling at Woodrow Wilson, he became athletic director at the Beckley YMCA. During this six year period, he directed and instructed numerous wrestling camps and clinics. He also founded the first youth wrestling league in southern West Virginia.

He began coaching at Park Junior High School in 1983. His football teams had great success for fourteen years and Park's Wrestling teams did well for over twenty years. The Roadrunners won over sixty tournaments including the WSAZ Tournament four times, (Runner-up twice). Wayne also coached cross country and track and served as the school's Athletic Director. In addition to coaching, he was a wrestling official for 28 years, working many conferences and regional championships. Wayne has been a wrestling columnist for the Beckley Register-Herald since 1982. In 2001, he was voted the West Virginia "Sportswriter of the Year" and Wrestling USA's "Sportswriter of the Year." He is also a member of the Raleigh County Wrestling Hall of Fame. Wayne recently retired as Principal at Park Middle High, and now keeps busy as a builder, gardener, and freelance writer.

Wayne and his loving wife Diana are the parents of two sons-John (Rhonda) and Jeremy (Kelli). They have four wonderful grandchildren, Chase, Ian, Jessica, and Kassi.

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame honors A. Wayne Bennett with a "Lifetime of Service to Wrestling" award, class of 2008.



John Feltz (right) receives the award on behalf of his father from National Wrestling Hall of Fame representative Dan Zottarelli, President of the Maryland State Chapter.
James C. Feltz -- "Lifetime Service to Wrestling"

James C. Feltz, a native of Fairmont, attended Fairmont Senior High School and Fairmont State College where he is a "Letterman of Distinction". He later received his master's degree in school administration from West Virginia University.

Jim began his teaching and coaching career in Monongah High School, where he coached numerous state title teams in football and baseball. He returned to his high school alma mater in 1964 to coach football and wrestling the new love of his life.

As he began his wrestling career with very little knowledge, he learned it by reading books, attending clinics, and listening to his many friends in coaching. It didn't take Jim's mat teams long to make a significant mark in North Central West Virginia, the Big Ten Conference, and the state of West Virginia. He coached several state champions, including Jack Kerr, Don Courtney and Bill Proctor.

In 1970, Jim moved into school administration. It was then that he turned his attention to becoming a wrestling official. Jim spent the next 24 years officiating the sport he loved. He served as the state rules interpreter from 1979 through 1988. He especially enjoyed traveling around the state, giving clinics before the start of each mat season. Jim was appointed to serve on the NFHS's National Wrestling Rules committee for several years in the mid 80's. He deemed this position to be a tremendous honor.

His son Jon recalls, "My father always had a wrestling story to tell from his coaching and officiating years for anyone who would take the time to listen. He truly had a passion for what he called 'the purest form of sport there is,' the sport he loved, the sport he served so well the sport of wrestling.

Jim married the founer Betty Wilson. They raised three children: Jay, Jon, and his daughter Jamie. Jim always had a strong faith in God. Suffering complications following open-heart surgery in 1988, he passed away on January 12, 1995. He is deeply missed by family, friends, and colleagues. His legacy lives on...

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame honors James C. Feltz with a "Lifetime of Service to Wrestling" award, class of 2008.



Fred Schrom (right) receives the award from National Wrestling Hall of Fame representative Dan Zottarelli, President of the Maryland State Chapter.
Fred Schrom -- "Lifetime. Service to Wrestling"

Fred Schrom graduated from Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, Maryland where he wrestled for three years and was selected Athlete of the Year his senior year. He graduated from Concord College in Athens, WV in 1961 with a B.S. degree. In 1964, he received a M.S. degree from WVU.

He began teaching in McDowell County, WV in 1961. In 1967, he began his teaching/coaching career at Big Creek High School in War. This was the wrestling program which George Nedeff established. Fred also coached tennis and track and field and officiated wrestling and football in West Virginia and Virginia. He continued coaching for 22 years until his retirement in 1989. He presently does substitute teaching and is enjoying his "semi" retirement.

Fred's career record is 159 wins, 129 losses and 4 ties. His team finished second in the 1976 state tournament. Out of 32 state place winners, he had 6 Champions, 5 Runners-up and 3 Outstanding Wrestlers. His team won the regional championship in 1975 and 1976. Out of 145 place winners, he had 40 Champions and 28 Runners-up.

In 1975, Fred was honored by Amateur Wrestling News as West Virginia Coach of the Year. The West Virginia Coaches Association also honored him as the High School Wrestling Coach of the Year 1986-87.

He has always supported wrestling at all levels. He helped establish programs in the other county high schools and continues to support the WVU program.

Fred and his loving wife Genie have three sons, Steven, Matthew and David and have five grandchildren. The National Wrestling Hall of Fame honors Fred Schrom with a "Lifetime of Service to Wrestling" award, class of 2008.



Dr. Bill Welker (right) receives the award from National Wrestling Hall of Fame representative Dan Zottarelli, President of the Maryland State Chapter.
Dr. Bill Welker -- "Lifetime Service to Wrestling"

Dr. Bill Welker has promoted West Virginia wrestling since 1970 as a coach, official, speaker, clinician and author. A former Pennsylvania State Champion and State Runner-up, he coached wrestling from 1970-80 at Wheeling High, Wheeling Central (1973 State Champion: Dan Doyle) and Wheeling Park. From 1980-2005, he officiated wrestling and is now the WVSSAC state rules interpreter.

Bill is the editor and chapter author of The Wrestling Drill Book, and has recently produced a DVD on his signature move, The Pancake Takedown Series. He has written nearly 600 articles on wrestling since 1975. Welker's "Mat Talk" series in the Wheeling News-Register is the oldest wrestling column in the state.

Over the past four decades, Welker has received many wrestling awards:
    1979 SWN National Assistant Coach of the Year Runner-Up
    1987 WUSA National Sportswriter of the Year
    Six-time West Virginia Sportswriter of the Year
    1989 West Virginia Official of the Year
    1991 OVAC "Mr. Mat" Award
    2001 West Virginia Man of the Year
    2002 WUSA National Official of the Year
    2003 OVAC Official of the Year
    2008 WUSA "Master of Wrestling" Award

Bill and his lovely wife Peggy reside in Wheeling. They have four children Bill, Rick, Tiffany and Dan and twelve grandchildren Corey, Drew, Chase, Camden Rose, Nate, Cheyenne, Canon, Lillian Grace, Vandor, Shanen, Aaliyah and Molly Margaret.

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame honors Dr. Bill Welker with a "Lifetime of Service to Wrestling" award, class of 2008.




Ed West (right) receives the award from National Wrestling Hall of Fame representative Dan Zottarelli, President of the Maryland State Chapter.
Ed West -- "Lifetime Service to Wrestling"

Ed West is a graduate of John Marshall High School, where he was a 1973 State Champion as a senior, had a record of 58-11-1, and was a member of two state championship teams (1972 & 1973). West earned his B.A. at West Liberty State College, and later acquired a MA. degree from West Virginia University.

While coaching five years at Moundsville Junior High (1978-1982) with Larry Chambers, Ed produced four undefeated teams. In 1982, Ed started his scholastic coaching career as assistant coach under Ed Dugas at John Marshall High School. West took over the reins of the "Monarchs" in 2001 and the great legacy of the John Marshall wrestling program continued to shine.

During Coach West's tenure, his mat squads compiled a 136-57-1 dual meet record. His 2002 team was the OVAC AAAA Dual Meet Champions and placed 3`d at the state tournament. Under West, three of his teams placed in the "top six" at the state tournament. Ed coached five OVAC Champions and five state titleists. Also he coached the school's first three-time state champion (Dustin Richey), two OVAC outstanding wrestlers (Ryan Muldrew and Derek George), and one Dutton Award winner and All-American (Ryan Muldrew).

Ed West resides in Moundsville with his lovely wife Colleen. They have three daughters Shilo, Shannon, and Abby and four grandchildren Brock, Blake, Breyden, and Ethan.

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame honors Ed West with a "Lifetime of Service to Wrestling" award, class of 2008.


Photos courtesy of Brian Cook, Martins Ferry Times Leader
2008 Induction Ceremony Feature


Hall of Fame Main Page

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