Tolarchyk to be honored again by Ohio mat HOF

It’s not often an individual is inducted to a hall of fame twice.

Bridgeport High graduate Walt Tolarchyk is one of those rare individuals, evidently.

The 1960 Bulldog product will be formally inducted into the Ohio Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame on Nov. 18 during a ceremony in Dublin at The Embassy Suites.

Tolarchyk was a standout prep grappler in his day, but it’s for his coaching career, which has spanned more than 40 years, that he’s being honored with the Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award. He received this award in 1995, but hall of fame officials felt he didn’t receive “the proper recognition.”

“I better keep quiet about the last time I was recognized,” Tolarchyk joked during a phone interview. “Actually, I was surprised when I was told I was going to be honored again because I thought they did a great job. It was a great evening.”

As so many athletes who played any sport for him do, Tolarchyk pointed to those years of wrestling under legendary Bridgeport coach George Kovalick as to what gave him the desire to coach and taught him so much about the sport of wrestling.

“Bobby (Douglas) and I still talk all the time about how so many of the things we do as coaches are based on what Coach Kovalick was doing,” Tolarchyk said. “He was demanding and he was doing things that were just well ahead of his time. Not too many days go by where I don’t think about him. I give him all of the credit for teaching me how to teach.”

Tolarchyk etched his name into Ohio wrestling lore during a 27-year career at North Canton High School. He retired from that post and re-located to North Carolina.

He got back into teaching and the thirst to continue to educate and teach the sport of wrestling just didn’t go away, so Tolarchyk embarked on a 14-year career at Riverside Hgh School.

“I am 69 years old and I’m still going into the (practice) room,” Tolarchyk said. “The passion is still there, but my body isn’t cooperating as much.”

Tolarchyk has decided that he’ll officially retire for good from coaching and education after this school year, his 47th in the profession.

Looking ahead to the banquet, Tolarchyk is excited to see so many familiar faces of Ohio wrestling. He’s also looking forward to meeting St. Clairsville graduate Chase Holcomb, who will receive the Medal of Courage Award from the hall of fame.

“That’s very, very neat that another Ohio Valley person is being recognized,” Tolarchyk said.