West Virginia Wrestling


April 17, 2010

Dr. Bill Welker will be inducted into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame, Class of 2010, for his accomplishments as a wrestler this April 25th at State College, PA. He is only the third wrestler from Shamokin High School (Dr. Ken Faust in 1997 and George Edwards in 2005) to be inducted into the prestigious Hall. And the school's wrestling program has a storied history that dates back to 1928.

A 1965 graduate of Shamokin High School, Welker was a three-time sectional champion, three-time District Four champion, and two-time Northeastern Regional champion. He won his PIAA State Title in 1963 at 95 pounds and was also the 112-pound PIAA State Runner-up in 1965. A four-year varsity performer, Welker was undefeated in dual meet competition both his freshman and senior years, and was named the school's outstanding wrestler his senior season.

Welker was the last Shamokin High School wrestler to compete in a "Greyhound" uniform under legendary, hall of fame coaches Mal Paul and Lyman "Beans" Weaver before the school consolidated with Coal Township High School in the fall of 1965. He was also the school's youngest wrestler ever to win states. Moreover, Welker held the old Shamokin "Greyhound" record for most career wins - 83 victories.

Bill's cousin, Harold Welker, was the 145-pound champion during the first PIAA state tournament held at Penn State's "Rec Hall" in 1938. Bill and his brother Floyd (1959 state titlist at 120 lbs.) were the first brother-team to win states in District Four. The trio of Welkers has often been referred to as the "First Family of District Four Wrestling."

Welker has published over 600 articles on the art and science of wrestling since 1974, and is the editor and chapter author of The Wrestling Drill Book published in 2005, which has sold over 17,400 copies nationwide. In 2008, Welker produced The Pancake Takedown Series DVD, which is also being distributed across the country.

Over the years, Wrestling USA Magazine has honored Welker with the following awards: National Wrestling Sportswriter of the Year (1987), West Virginia Wrestling Man of the Year (2001), National Official of the Year (2002), and Master of Wrestling (2008).

Welker is also a member of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame - Bernie Romanoski Chapter (1990), the Pennsylvania District Four Wrestling Hall of Fame (2000), and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame - West Virginia Chapter (2008) for his lifetime service as a coach and official.

When asked about his thoughts on the upcoming induction, Welker responded, "I witnessed my coach, Mal Paul, being inducted as a charter member of the Hall in 1973 at the Harrisburg (PA) Farm Show Arena, and always dreamed of joining him. In April, that dream will come true."

Welker earned his BS and Master's degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and his doctorate in reading education from West Virginia University in 1989. In June of 2009, he retired after 40 years as a k-12 classroom teacher. Highly respected as an educator, Welker was named the 2009 Teacher of the Year by the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce.

Bill and his wife Peggy reside in Wheeling, West Virginia. They have four children (Bill, Rick, Tiffany, and Dan-E.) and 12 grandchildren (Cory, Drew, Chase, Camden Rose, Cheyenne, Canon, Shanen, Aaliyah, Vander, Nathan, Lillian Grace, and Molly Margaret).

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