West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker, National Wrestling Hall of Famer
and Rick Welker


A Class Act!

Be it a wrestler, coach, official, educator, and family man, Art Hehr - recipient of the 2012 OVAC Mr. Mat award - is truly a class act. Hehr was honored with the prestigious accolade last night before the championship session of the Ron Mauck OVAC Wrestling Tournament.

A 1959 graduate of Bridgeport High School, Hehr began his mat career under the tutelage of legendary coach George Kovalick. After a stint in the U.S. Army (1959-1962), Hehr acquired his bachelor's degree in education at West Liberty University in 1966. He later earned a master's degree from the University of Dayton in 1985.

As a Bridgeport High School "Bulldog" wrestler, Art Hehr excelled on the mats. He was a three-time OVAC Champion (1957-58-59). Hehr placed third in the 1957 Ohio State Tournament as a sophomore. He was undefeated his junior and senior years, winning back-to-back individual Ohio state championships.

Hehr, as a "Hilltopper" wrestler, was a two-time West Virginia Conference titlist for West Liberty University. Unfortunately, a serious injury prematurely ended his competitive days on the collegiate mats.

Upon graduation, Art Hehr began his teaching career which lasted over a 35-year span. Hehr initiated the wrestling program at Wheeling Jesuit University in 1966. He also started the mat sport at Skyvue High School in 1967, where he served as athletic director for 28 years.

During the 1967-1968 school year, Art Hehr was at the helm of the Martins Ferry High School wrestling program. In this capacity, he guided his "Purple Rider" matmen to an OVAC team championship in 1968. Hehr's wrestlers were also crowned team victors at both sectionals and districts that same year.

Furthermore, Art Hehr offered his services as an Ohio High School Athletic Association wrestling referee from 1970 to 1986. Many coaches at the time viewed his officiating approach as very professional, competent and consistent, stressing fairness and wrestler safety.

During his teaching tenure, Art Hehr also coached track and field for three years at Skyvue High School. He retired from the education profession at Monroe Central High School in 1995.

Art Hehr competed on Bridgeport's first football team to go undefeated in 1958. Moreover, he was a member of 1959 state championship "Bulldog" mat squad. The entire team was inducted into the Bridgeport High School Hall of Fame in 2010. For his individual efforts as a wrestler, Hehr was inducted into the Bridgeport High School Hall of Fame in 2011.

Art Hehr and his devoted wife, Carol, reside in Woodsfield, Ohio. They have three children - Edward, Stephen, and Gretchen - and five grandchildren.

The Out-of-Bounds Line

The two-inch, out-of-bounds line is now inbounds like the line in baseball. If there is no two-inch line and the mat has two contrasting colors, the outside contrasting color is out-of-bounds.

Mat Quiz
Q: Wrestler A is stepping on the inbounds line and Wrestler B is stepping outside the inbounds line. Should the official whistle them out-of-bounds?
A: No. Only when both wrestlers' supporting points are out-of-bounds would the official whistle them out-of-bounds.

Mat Message
"A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm."
-- Henrik Ibsen
(Dr. Bill Welker can be reached via e-mail at: mattalkwv@hotmail.com)

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