Lifetime Service to Perry Wrestling Award
The Perry Wrestling Foundation is proud to announce the beginning of a new award recognizing individuals that have provided vital support to Perry Wrestling. The Foundation’s “Lifetime Service to Perry Wrestling Award” will recognize one individual each year that goes above and beyond in supporting Perry Wrestling. At the recent Perry-Stillwater dual, Don Huff was recognized as the first recipient of this award.
Don truly is an individual that has given to and supported Perry Wrestling his entire life. Starting wrestling in his youth, he has been surrounded by incredible role models his entire wrestling career. Don started under the guidance of Tom Groom and the late Tony Macias, with Terry Leonard serving as his junior high coach and Leonard “Shorty” Shelton and Fred Waltermire coaching him in high school.
Following graduation from Oklahoma State, Don returned to Perry and Shorty eagerly encouraged him to assist with the youth wrestling practices. Fearing an infamous Shorty “ear bite”, he headed to his first youth practice, and incredibly, 34 years later, he is still at the armory molding future champions for Perry Wrestling.
Just as impressive as his length of service as a youth coach is his passion and fire for the youth wrestling program. Perry Wrestling is as strong today as the day Don started back in 1983. Coach Huff has set the standard for introducing young boys and girls to the sport of wrestling. His longevity, commitment and passion have laid the groundwork for many future champions.
Don’s positive and everlasting influence on his young wrestlers is immeasurable. The incredible success of the high school program provides a glimpse into the overwhelming number of wrestlers that he has influenced. While Don has served as the Perry youth coach, Perry High School has won an amazing 18 team State Championships and 18 Dual State titles. He has coached wrestlers that have gone on to win 167 high school state medals including an incredible 44 individual state titles! This list of champions includes 4 time champions Ladd Rupp and Ian Fisher, 3 time champs Colby Heppler, Stephen Swan and Matt Manley plus WWE World Champion Jacob Hager, alias Jack Swagger – the All-American American!”
Don first helped coach the local YMCA program in 1983, and in 1992 started the Perry Youth Wrestling Program. His commitment to wrestling goes beyond Perry Wrestling as he has served multiple terms on the Oklahoma YMCA Wrestling Commission and currently serving his 8th consecutive term as the Northwest Regional Director for the Oklahoma Kids Wrestling Association Executive Board of Directors. Don also assists Jack Roller’s World of Wrestling in hosting three national tournaments. Don has also assisted the Perry Information Network in broadcasting commentary for dual matches and tournaments including the high school state tournament.
Not only is Don fully committed to coaching the youth team, you can count on him to be at every high school match, cheering for the wrestlers that more than likely wrestled under him when they were younger. There is probably a good chance that he is running from one of his own practices or tournaments to catch the wrestlers in action, but his love of Perry Wrestling is evident by his enthusiastic presence at all wrestling events.
Soon the Perry Wrestling Foundation will erect a granite slab at the Perry Wrestling Monument Park recognizing the recipients of the “Lifetime Service to Perry Wrestling Award.” The 2017 honoree of this award, Don Huff, and all future honorees, will have their names etched in granite, alongside all of the past champions, forever declaring their invaluable contributions to Perry Wrestling.
“We proudly recognize Don Huff as the first recipient of the life time service award as his commitment, passion and support of Perry Wrestling is sincere and everlasting,” stated Foundation president Roger Tetik. Tetik went on to say, “Perry has a long and storied history in wrestling and there have been so many people that have been instrumental in providing the incredible support in keeping the tradition alive. Perry Wrestling is blessed and appreciative of the large number of individuals and businesses that have provided such enthusiastic and critical support to this historic wrestling program over the past 95 years and we are eager to recognize their invaluable support in the years to come.”