USA Wrestling National Wrestling H...

National Wrestling Hall of Fame announces Lifetime Service to Wrestling award winners for Virginia c

By Mike Clair | Oct. 03, 2002, 12 a.m. (ET)

Stillwater, Okla. - The National Wrestling Hall of Fame has announced the 2002 class of Virginia coaches, officials and contributors to be recognized with a "Lifetime to Service to Wrestling Award. "This award is given annually to coaches, officials, or contributors who have given a lifetime of service to wrestling, their communities, and most importantly, to the young people they have coached, taught, motivated and inspired. Four individuals will be honored this year: John Seal, Barry Trent, Spencer Chang and Wallace Coffey. The honorees are: JOHN SEAL John Seal dispelled the adage that "nice guys finish last" in leading his teams. He was always good to his wrestlers and demanded the most from them while making the sport fun for them and treating them like sons. Coach Seal began his coaching career and a new program at Harrisonburg High School in 1973. In the 18 years to follow, Coach Seal led the "Blue Streaks" to 15 District titles and compiled a 145-36 dual meet record. During his tenure he coached 15 state champions and numerous state place winners. Coach Seal started a youth league, which has continued to provide the Blue Streaks with experience as well as the Valley District. Thanks to his efforts the bar was raised and the Valley District continues to be one of the most competitive in the state of Virginia. BARRY TRENT Barry Trent joined the William Byrd Wrestling Team as an assistant coach in 1978. In 1980, Coach Trent became head coach and remained at Byrd until 1995. During this time, the William Byrd teams compiled a 163-70-1 record. He coached eight state champions and his teams placed in the top 10 in the state on seven occasions with his 1982 team winning the Virginia AA State Championship. In 1982, Coach Trent received the "Timeland Coach of the Year Award" and in 1992 and 1995 was the recipient of the Roanoke Valley Wrestling Officials Association's "Outstanding Sportsmanship-Coach of the Year Award." SPENCER CHANG The Late Spencer Chang began his teaching and coaching career at Franklin County High School, and remained there for seven years. In 1982, Coach Cheng accepted a teaching and head coaching position with Martinsville City Schools. He took a down and out wrestling team and built a program that would become dominant in the area. He coached two state champions and numerous state finalists and won seven District Coach of the Year Awards. In 1999, Coach Cheng was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was forced to retire. Although he was only given a few months to live, Spencer exemplified exactly what he had instilled in his wrestlers, and fought as hard as he humanly could. One year and seven months later, Coach Cheng passed away. Perhaps more important than awards or championships, Coach will always be remembered for his love and devotion to the great sport of wrestling. His laid-back charm and warm smile will always be etched in the minds of those who knew him. His kindness and compassion will remain forever in the hearts of the young men whose lives he touched. WALLACE COFFEY Wallace Coffey is truly one of the pioneers of wrestling in the western part of the state. In 1951, Wallace joined the service during the time of the Korean War. During his four years in the service he was active in wrestling and competed against college and club teams. In 1957, Wallace started officiating high school and college matches in and around the Roanoke Valley. Many coaches and wrestlers considered him to be the best official in the state. Wallace officiated four state tournaments including the first 1B Virginia State Wrestling Tournament at Northside High School in 1967. For their dedication and lasting influence on wrestling, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum, Stillwater, Okla., will present these men the "Lifetime Service to Wrestling" award. The Virginia Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame will honor these men on October 24th at the Days Inn Ballroom, Roanoke. For additional information concerning this event, please contact Jim Wayne Childress at 276-935-7900 or Stan Parker at 540-853-6040.