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William H. Barger

If at first you don't succeed, come up with a better plan. This is probably a prime part of Bill Barger's coaching philosophy. In 1976 Barger was hired at Walsh Jesuit High School to develop a wrestling program. It was slow going at first, perhaps even at a snail's pace. In 1980, he finally coached his first state champion, 98-pound Don Horning. He had two more state champions in '81 and another in '82, but it wasn't enough to satisfy Barger. He felt there just wasn't the necessary quantity or quality of wrestler available to build a winning program. He left Walsh in 1984 to form a youth program with friends Joe Perrella and Perry Rienzi that they named the North Akron Wrestling Club. This partnership proved to be a very successful venture, providing a strong youth program that acts as a feeder into area high school wrestling programs to the present day. Barger returned to Walsh in 1987 and has built a nationally recognized program. His wrestlers have practically owned the Ohio Division I, capturing the titles on seven occasions, in 1991, '93 through '97, and 1999 and Walsh finished second in 1990 and '92. The 1994, '95 and '97 Warrior squads were voted number one in the nation by USA Today. As a result, Barger was selected High School Coach of the Year in 1994 and '97 by the National High School Wrestling Coaches Association and by USA Wrestling magazine. In the '90s alone, Barger has produced 27 state champions and the '95 team, with five champions, scored a record-breaking 203 points in winning the state title. Four of his wrestlers have gone on to earn All-America honors, including Mark Mollica, a two-time NCAA champion at Arizona State.

Inducted 1999 | Coach