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Funeral Monday for former coach, wrestler Ben Knaub

Funeral arrangements have been announced for Ben Knaub, former Colorado high school and college wrestler who served as a high school coach for nearly a quarter-century, and as a mat official for a dozen years.

Ben Knaub
Knaub passed away in Greeley, Colo. on Monday, Sept. 2 at age 92.

The funeral for Knaub, a student-athlete at Greeley High School and Colorado State Teachers College will take place Monday, Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. at the Allnutt Macy Chapel, 6521 West 20th Street, Greeley. Burial will take place following the funeral at City of Evans Cemetery.

At Greeley High School, Knaub was a two-time Colorado state wrestling championships placer. Two days after his high school graduation in 1944, Knaub was drafted by the U.S. Army to serve in the last year of U.S. involvement in World War II. After concluding his military service, Knaub enrolled at Colorado State Teachers (now the University of Northern Colorado) and later earned his Master's degree at University of Denver.

While in college, Knaub was a two-time NCAA championships qualifier. At the 1949 NCAAs, Knaub wrestled in the 121-pound bracket, where he lost to eventual champ Arnold Plaza of Indiana's Purdue University, 13-11. The following year, Knaub moved up to 128 pounds, but was knocked out of title contention by Walter Romanowski of Cornell College of Iowa, 6-2, in the quarterfinals. (The eventual champ in that weight class was Purdue's Joe Patacsil.)

Knaub served as a public school teacher for 35 years ... 31 of those years in the Denver Public Schools. A major portion of his career in education -- over two decades -- was at John F. Kennedy High School in Denver. According to his obituary, Knaub started the wrestling program at Kennedy "from scratch and built it into a conference powerhouse" where his wrestlers won 14 conference championships over the span of 20 years before retiring in 1986. He also served as a high school and wrestling official for 12 seasons.

"I remember watching my dad referee the college match when UNC (University of Northern Colorado) upset Oklahoma State," said son Rob. "I even recall watching him on Wide World of Sports, refereeing individual NCAA finals matches."

Beyond wrestling, Knaub also participated in slow-pitch softball until age 85, and ran races barefoot.

In 2017, Ben Knaub was inducted into the Colorado Wrestling Hall of Fame, as well as being welcomed into the National Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Knaub is survived by his wife of 69 years, Joanne; three children; eight grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren.

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