West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker
National Wrestling Hall of Famer

"The Legendary Coach Larry Shaw"

The 2010 West Virginia State Tournament marked the end of Oak Glen's dominance in Class AA division with the crowning of Point Pleasant as the AA State Champions. But more importantly, 2010 marks the conclusion of a career of one of the most legendary wrestling coaches in Mountain State history - Coach Larry Shaw. Coach Shaw is concluding a 32-year stint as the Oak Glen wrestling mentor (1978-2010).

Larry Shaw is the product of another coaching icon in West Virginia, the late legendary Dix Manning, who was a charter member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, West Virginia Chapter - and Larry's coach.

At the beginning of Coach Shaw's career, he could have stayed in southern West Virginia, but chose to move to Region I wrestling - the hotbed of state wrestling, including like of such dynamic mat teams as Parkersburg, Parkersburg South, Wheeling Park, John Marshall, etc. As they say, "No guts, no glory."

I do not have enough space in this column to share with my readers all Coach Shaw's accomplishments and contributions to West Virginia wrestling. The following are just a few achievements of Coach Larry Shaw and his "Golden Bear" teams:

* Oak Glen has won 13 consecutive West Virginia AA State Champions from 1997 to 2009. (This is a record in the state for all sports.)
* Coach Shaw produced 51 individual state champions.
* The West Virginia Coaches named him seven times as the Dix Manning Coach of the Year.
* Dual Meet Record: 330-96-4.
* Five Over-all OVAC Tournament Team Championships.
* Two-Time Bill Van Horne OVAC All-Sports Coach of the Year.
* 12-Time OVAC Wrestling Coach of the Year.
* 2004 WVSSAC-NFHS Active Coach of the Year.
* 2008 National Wrestling Coach of the Year.
As previously stated, I could go on and on. But now, let me also share with my readers what is going to read tonight at Coach Larry Shaw's Retirement Banquet.


Dear Coach Shaw,

Bill Welker here. I wanted so badly to be at your retirement party. Unfortunately, it's the same weekend as the Pennsylvania State Championships, which is where I am right this moment with my son Rick.

What can one say about Coach Shaw? Well, I got some good news and some bad news. Let's go with the bad news first.

Item 1: If you don't know Larry Shaw, you probably wouldn't like him.
Item 2: Have you ever seen Coach Shaw smile during the season?
Item 3: Does he ever crack a joke during the season?
Item 4: Do his wrestlers like him during the season?
Item 5: And finally, does Cindy, his own wife, like him or even want to live with him during the season?
The answer to all these questions is "HELL NO!"

Now for the good news:

Item 1: There is not a more dedicated wrestling coach in the state of West Virginia!
Item 2: Coach Shaw's dedication to his wrestlers (and students, for that matter) is second to none.
Item 3: There is no coach in the state who knows the rules more thoroughly than Coach Shaw. Just ask him about the old "Sock Rule" or the "Ben Gay Incident, where I had to send myself a letter of reprimand!"
Item 4: When it comes to wrestling, Coach Shaw would do anything for anybody! Ask Coach Shaw about the 40+ hours he spent with me taking photos for my drill book. Or the 12 hours we spent filming an "officials' instructional" video. That day, his wife Cindy literally chased me out of the gym!
Item 5: And finally, Coach Shaw single-handedly changed the status of AA wrestling around the state. Before Oak Glen became a AA school, watching AA wrestling at the state tournament reminded me of a bunch of first-year youth wrestlers. It was not a pretty picture! Today, AA wrestling in the state is outstanding.

Coach Shaw was the impetus behind this transformation, pushing other AA coaches to step it up a couple 'notches' if they ever wanted to compete against the "Golden Bears" of Oak Glen. Yes, Larry Shaw improved wrestling statewide by stressing excellence from his own wrestlers.

In closing, Coach Larry Shaw is one of the finest wrestling coaches I have ever known. But more important than that - Larry Shaw is my FRIEND. Congratulations, Coach Larry Shaw, for a job superbly done!

Your friend,
Bill Welker

The Assistant Referee

An assistant referee may be utilized during competition, usually during tournament action. He is allowed the same mobility around the mat as the match official.

Furthermore, the assistant referee may talk to the main official during the match, and assist the main official in making calls if the main official asks him for help.

The assistant official can also signal the technical violation of locked hands on the mat or the grasping of clothing.

Although all other calls must be made by the main official, the assistant official is allowed to make the main official aware of various infractions.

If there is a disagreement between the two, the main official will have the final say regarding the situation.

Note: Coaches are not to address the assistant referee during the course of a match.

Mini-Mat Quiz

Q: In the second period of the bout, the assistant referee warned Wrestler A for stalling. Immediately, Wrestler A's coach approached the scorer's table and argued that the assistant referee had no authority to make that call. Was he right or wrong?
A: The coach was correct. Only the main official of the match is allowed to designate stalling. Mat Notes

Next week is the final "Mat Talk" column of the season. It is also the column in which we announce the Ohio and West Virginia OVAC Wrestlers of the Year. Who do you think they will be?

Mat Message

"None are so fond of secrets as those who do not mean to keep them."
- C. C. Colton

(Dr. Bill Welker can be reached via e-mail at: mattalkwv@hotmail.com)
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