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Former Sooner wrestler, Perry High coach Fred Waltermire passes

Fred Waltermire, former University of Oklahoma wrestler who coached the sport at his prep alma mater Perry High School for nearly a quarter-century, died November 12 in his hometown of Perry, Okla. He was 76 years old.

Fred Waltermire
Fred Flynn Waltermire was born on November 2, 1942 in Perry to Elmer and Sallie Waltermire. He wrestled for the storied Perry Maroons, one of the all-time great high school program in the nation that produced two Olympic medalists: Jack VanBebber (1932) and Dan Hodge (1956). One of Waltermire's greatest on-the-mat accomplishments: winning the prestigious Geary Tournament of Champions in 1960.

After Waltermire graduated from Perry High in 1960, he headed south to the University of Oklahoma, where he was a member of the Sooner wrestling team while pursuing a degree in Education.

In 1970, Waltermire returned to Perry High, where he served as an assistant and head wrestling coach of the Maroons until 1994. During his coaching tenure at Perry, Waltermire coached 14 Oklahoma state championship teams, 58 individual champions, and 93 other wrestlers who placed second, third or fourth at the state tournament. He owns the distinction of having coached Perry's first four-time state champ, as well as three others who earned three state titles. Eight of Waltermire's wrestlers at Perry went on to win a total of 15 college All-American honors in NCAA Division I, Division II, NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) and NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association)...including two collegiate national champs.

While at Perry, Waltermire compiled a career dual-meet record of 241-93-4, for a .719 winning percentage.

"Fred Waltermire is a giant in the town of Perry and wrestling program, both literally and figuratively," Chance Leonard, a former Perry High wrestler who is creator and executive producer of "The Price of Legacy" documentary film about Perry wrestling, told InterMat. "His impact was far reaching; parents, students and athletes from many decades all benefited from his leadership, coaching and teaching."

"I fondly remember many things about Coach Waltermire, most notably his intimidating size and strength and his motivational sayings," Leonard continued. "When Coach spoke, you listened. When he came off the bench, he was always yelling 'Feat Don't Fail Me Now!' To this day I still hear his voice pushing me to excel. We will all miss him dearly."

Waltermire is survived by his wife of 57 years, Marilyn, as well as two sons, one daughter, and seven grandchildren, as well as a brother and a sister.

A public visitation has already taken place. A private service for the family will be held at a future date.

As a memorial, donations may be made to the Billings Christian Church, c/o Dighton-Marler Funeral Home, P.O. Box 189, Perry, OK, 73077.

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