WHEELING, W.VA. (WTRF)- “You’re standing in the presence of giants. When you look at these two guys, they’re guys that you knew of or heard of 30, 40 years ago,” said Tom Rataiczak, the Treasurer of the OVAC.
Two local legends were honored today for their dedication to the OVAC and lifetimes of accomplishments through coaching, mentoring, and leading the wrestling community. Bill Hinegardner and Ron Mauck both received wrestling lifetime service plaques that will be hung in Wesbanco area, becoming only the 3rd and 4th individuals to receive this honor from the Ohio Valley Wrestling Coaches Association and OVAC.
The day was emotional and a surprise for these two Ohio Valley legends. Hinegardner made John Marshall a powerhouse in wrestling, with 4 state titles. He also won the OVAC wrestling tournament four times as a coach and remained involved in the sport after retirement.
As for Mauck, he started a wrestling program at Follansbee High School, and Brooke High School and created the dual meeting standings back in 1971.
“When I was an athlete, these guys were actually in my opponents’ corner. And then, here, just two outstanding people, period. To have been associated with them as long as I have and again as mentors, friends and family and lifelong lessons as standing, watching and learning, as Ronny said, with these two gentlemen, believe, me their whole careers, whole lives, truly was all about our kids,” said Dr. Dan Doyle, Wrestling Commissioner of the OVAC.
Both men cherished their proud moment in the midst of family and friends who they have impacted.
“When you stop and consider that in 35 years we have only been able to find four people to measure those standards, it tells you how special it is,” said Rataiczak.