Legendary Pennsylvania wrestler, coach Charles 'Biff' Walizer dies

Charles "Biff" Walizer, a man who made a name for himself as a wrestler and wrestling coach within Pennsylvania and beyond, passed away Friday, Feb. 21. He was 78.

Charles "Biff" Walizer
Born in Salona, Pa. in September 1941, Walizer wrestled at Bald Eagle Nittany High School in Mill Hall, where he was a 4-year varsity starter with a record of 40-5-0 before graduating in 1959. At Lock Haven State College (now Lock Haven University), Walizer won three College Conference Championships and two NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) championships with a record of 72-10-1. Just as impressive: Walizer was never pinned in high school or college.

Beyond success in high school and college, Walizer also qualified to wrestle off for the 1964 Summer Olympics, but unfortunately, due to a car falling on him, he was not able to compete, according to the funeral home obituary.

Upon graduating from Lock Haven in 1963, Walizer launched his long and successful coaching career, starting at Alexandria Bay, N.Y. A year later he moved to Titusville, Pa. where he coached from 1964-1969 with a record of 42-19-1. Walizer could claim his first undefeated team in 1968.

Walizer moved back to his hometown of Mill Hall where he taught and coached at Bald Eagle Nittany High School from 1970-1995, leading his wrestlers to a record of 252-136-5. Walizer could claim 53 District 6 Champions, 20 Regional winners and seven State Titlists. He coached three undefeated seasons: 1976-77, 1992-93 and 1993-94. Biff also coached the Pennsylvania Cadet and Junior National teams in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling for eight years.

In addition to accumulating winning results, coach Walizer tallied a number of impressive honors. He was a District 6 Coach of the Year for eight years as well as Pennsylvania State Coach of the Year twice. Walizer was inducted into the NAIA National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1993, the Clinton County Sports Hall of Fame in 1994, the District 6 Hall of Family in 1999, the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2015, and the West Branch Valley Chapter of the Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

Tom Elling, the dean of Pennsylvania wrestling, shared his thoughts about the legendary wrestler and coach with attendees at the Walizer's funeral service on Wednesday… and with InterMat.

"Charles 'Biff' Walizer was a throwback," Elling told InterMat. "He was hard-nosed and lived every day that way. From riding bulls to breaking horses to riding motocross motorcycles to having wrestled an orangutan (and beating it), Biff was a warrior. He was successful as a high school wrestler at Bald Eagle-Nittany High School and as part of the Lock Haven State's 'Fearsome Foursome' of Gray Simons, Fred Powell and Jack Day.

"Biff's most notable win was over a West Liberty W.Va. wrestler by the name of Bobby Douglas. Yes, THAT Bobby Douglas. And about a year ago, Bobby heard Biff wasn't doing well so he phoned him.

"Wrestlers are tight. Biff's viewing looked like a reunion of Pennsylvania wrestling who's who. Dozens of his former wrestlers lined up to pay their last respects and to tell their favorite Biff stories. There was only one Biff. He will be sorely missed."

Walizer is survived the love of his life for 25 years, Becky Smith, along with eight children (including Biff Wilson Walizer who wrestled for Penn State in the late 1990s), eleven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

Although services have already taken place, memorial contributions may be made to Mat Town Wrestling, the Clinton County S.P.C.A. or any charity of choice.


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timx (1) about 9 months ago
Classic old fashioned life in wrestling. Go back to your hometown HS, teach, raise a family and coach for 25 years. You could do a lot worse. RIP
mckarma (1) about 9 months ago
Exemplary good old life in wrestling. Return to your old neighborhood HS, instruct, raise a family and mentor for a long time. You could do a ton more terrible. Tear