SCMAT Exclusive Wrestling Article 11-29-07
National Wrestling Hall of Fame SC Chapter year 1, ... I'm still laughing, but find out why!
2007 NWHOF Inductees from SC (left to right) Tom Ellenberger - "Lifetime Service to Wrestling" Award Steve LaPrad - "Lifetime Service to Wrestling" Award Colonel James Roberts - "Outstanding American" Award Jim Barnes - "Lifetime Service to Wrestling" Award Let me get the laughter part out of the way first ... I really didn't go to the May 6, 2007 Banquet thinking I would be laughing about the stories months later. It just happened that way. As Brent LaPrad would describe, you get Summerville and Rock Hill wrestlers and coaches all in the same room and the instinct to start sweating just kicks in. Brent was slightly sweating during his introduction for his father and broke the room into laughter with his explanation of being trained that way since the early days of the Summerville-Rock Hill rivalry. Coach Steve LaPrad continued the "wit" with his story of a 1979 state final's match, his first year of coaching at Summerville, in which his wrestler lost a closely contested match and as he went to kick the chair after the match was over, his shoe flew off and landed far away in the middle of the mat ... of course the visual of Coach LaPrad retrieving his shoe was enough to have everyone laughing again. The night included many of these stories from all Inductees, but those two stories to me stood out and still have me laughing when I think about the Banquet. The first Hall of Fame Banquet was a night to be remembered for years to come. The facilities were incredible, attendance packed the room, the speeches were inspirational and the leadership of our Chairman for the NWHOF SC Chapter, Coach Eddie Cook, was outstanding. And with retired UNC-Chapel Hill wrestling Coach Bill Lam guiding the inaugural ceremonies as the National Representative from the NWHOF, the evening exuded the fact that this was the honor of being inducted into the National Wrestling Hall Of Fame, not just a state honor. Thanks to the many coaches and volunteers that made this first year a success! Now, let me tell you a bit about each of the 2007 Inductees into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame: Colonel James Roberts - "Outstanding American" Award - Wrestling for St. Andrews High School, James Roberts was the 1969 State Champion at 175 lbs. and the 1970 State Champion at 188 lbs. In addition to two individual State titles, James also was a part of the two team titles St. Andrews won in 1969 and 1970, the first two years of sanctioned wrestling in South Carolina. James went on to play Football and Wrestle at The Citadel where he was captain for both sport's teams in 1974. During the '80's while located in SC, James volunteered as a wrestling coach and a wrestling Official, putting many hours back into the sport. Colonel James Roberts became the Commander of the 914th Airlift Wing as well as the installation commander for the Niagra Falls Air Reserve Station. He was responsible for the daily operations of a base with more than 2,000 Guard and Reserve members who have been actively involved in the Global War on Terror, both at home and overseas. He credits many of the lessons he learned as a wrestler as life-shaping experiences. He is now retired and lives in Charleston. Coach Tom Ellenberger - "Lifetime Service to Wrestling" Award - Coach Tom Ellenberger built the Rock Hill wrestling program into a powerhouse during the late '70's capping a state championship season in 1980. When Coach Ellenberger stepped down at Rock Hill after the 1980 season he turned the program over to Coach Jim Barnes and a state record was established with 23 consecutive years finishing as the #1 or #2 team. Rock Hill accomplished this incredible streak from 1978-2000 between Coach Ellenberger and Coach Jim Barnes. His Top team placements included: Team State Champions - 1 time ('80) Team State Runner-ups - 2 times ('79, '78) Coach Steve LaPrad - "Lifetime Service to Wrestling" Award - Coach Steve LaPrad finished his SC coaching career in 1993 with a record of 211-8 at Summerville. He coached wrestling at Chester high school for 1 year (1978) and coached wrestling at Summerville for 15 years (1979-1993). Coach LaPrad wrestled in high school while in Roanoke, Virginia and also wrestled in college at UNC-Pembroke and was a two time All-American while compiling 108 college wins. During his coaching career at Summerville he was also an NCAA Official. He is currently the head football coach and Athletic Director at Fort Dorchester high school. His Top team placements included: Team State Champions - 5 times ('93, '92, '88, '87, '81) Team State Runner-ups - 6 times ('91, '90, '89, '86, '85, '82) Coach Jim Barnes - "Lifetime Service to Wrestling" Award - Coach Jim Barnes finished his SC coaching career in 2000 with a record of 415-23. He coached wrestling at Union high school for 3 years (1971-1973), at Airport high school for 7 years (1974-1980) and at Rock Hill high school for 20 years (1981-2000). Coach Barnes wrestled in high school while in Uniontown, PA and played football while at Appalachian State University. He is currently in Charlotte, NC as a teacher/coach. His Top team placements included: Team State Champions - 17 times ('00, '99, '97, '96, '95, '94, '91, '90, '89, '86, '85, '84, '83, '82, '78, '77, '76) Team State Runner-ups - 8 times ('98, 93, '92, '88, '87, '81, '75, '73) And for all interested in the photo highlights of the 1st National Wrestling Hall of Fame South Carolina Chapter Banquet, here are some pictures from this year's Banquet: Marriot banquet room - Year 1 of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame SC Chapter Banquet Jim Barnes and family - prior to dinner Colonel James Roberts dinner table enjoying the banquet Tom Ellenberger dinner table enjoying the banquet Bill Lam former UNC-Chapel Hill Head Wrestling Coach and NWHOF Representative for State Chapter Programs Greg Webber introductary speaker for Colonel James Roberts Colonel James Roberts speaking during the ceremony Colonel James Roberts and Bill Lam with award presentation Tim Ellenberger introductary speaker for Tom Ellenberger Tom Ellenberger speaking during the ceremony Tom Ellenberger and Bill Lam with award presentation Brent LaPrad introductary speaker for Steve LaPrad Steve LaPrad speaking during the ceremony Steve LaPrad and Bill Lam with award presentation Jerry Honeycutt introductary speaker for Jim Barnes Bill Lam and Jim Barnes during the introduction Jim Barnes speaking during the ceremony Jim Barnes and Bill Lam with award presentation Eddie Cook and Bill Lam - Coach Cook is the Chairman for the NWHOF SC Chapter Colonel James Roberts table of photos/stories Steve LaPrad table of photos/stories Steve LaPrad table 2 of photos/stories Jim Barnes table of photos/stories Tom Ellenberger and friends after the banquet Rusty Hamilton and Colonel James Roberts after the banquet - Coach Hamilton was the St. Andrews wrestling coach in '69 & '70 Jim Barnes and friends after the banquet 2007 NWHOF Inductees from SC - Tom Ellenberger, Steve LaPrad, Colonel James Roberts, Jim Barnes Hopefully in this SCMAT exclusive article for 2007-2008 the history of SC wrestling is defining itself as an exciting past with a future awaiting more greatness. These historical articles at SCMAT will hopefully provide accurate facts though we may always have missed some data at some point. If you notice a correction, addition or just want to comment please send a reply to firstname.lastname@example.org thanks, Mark Buford