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Ray Judkins, founder of NEO wrestling program, passes

Ray Judkins, considered to be the father of the wrestling program at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, has passed away on Sunday, October at age 82, the two-year public community college in Miami, Okla. announced Tuesday.

Ray Judkins
Judkins had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Judkins launched the Golden Norse wrestling program at NEO in 1975. With Judkins at the helm, NEO won two regional championships, two conference titles as well as a number of invitational tournament championships.

During the years 1981-1985 with Judkins as head coach, the NEO Norseman experienced 36 wins and 19 losses and 2 ties in collegiate matches. In his 6 years of coaching wrestling at NEO Judkins produced 12 NJCAA All-Americans and was named regional coach of the year. He was welcomed into the NEO Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007.

Born in Oklahoma City in June 1937, Raymond Laverne Judkins was a student-athlete at Northeastern Oklahoma in the 1950s, where he played football and baseball. He was an AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) wrestler. He graduated from NEO in 1957.

"I am proud to follow in the footsteps of him and do what we are doing," current Norse wrestling coach Joe Renfro said. "He was probably one of the first people I met when I came to campus seven years ago. It's a great loss not only for NEO wrestling, but for NEO as an institution and the Miami community."

A Celebration of Life for Judkins will take place on Friday, October 25 in the Bruce Carter Student Union Calcagno Ballroom on the NEO campus. A reception will begin at 2 p.m. followed by a brief memorial program at 2:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, friends are encouraged to send donations to the Wrestling Program at NEO A&M College Foundation, 200 I Street NE, Miami, Okla. or to the Animal Welfare and Adoption Agency at their PayPal account miamiadoptadog@gmail.com.

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