The National Wrestling Hall of Fame will enshrine eight new inductees. One is a Nyssa Bulldog.
Luke Cleaver, former wrestling coach at Nyssa High School, will be inducted Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Hall of Fame Awards Banquet in Tigard.
Cleaver led the high school’s wrestling program to nine state championships and 18 top-four finishes during his more than 20 years at the helm.
Born and raised in Nyssa, Cleaver announced in May that he would be stepping back from his post as head coach to support his daughter Addie, 15, a freshman who will be playing basketball this winter during wrestling season.
Cleaver, now the principal of Nyssa Middle School, said it would not be fair to the wrestling squad to not make the full-time commitment needed, he said. Nonetheless, Cleaver, a standout wrestler in high school, said he did not intend to completely walk away from the program.
Bobby DeLeon, a counselor for the Nyssa School District, took over the head coach slot in September. DeLeon had been a longtime assistant coach for the program.
Cleaver, who won a state title his senior year in 1992, wrestled under legendary Nyssa wrestling coach Mel Calhoun, who brought wrestling to the high school in 1969.
Cleaver became an All-American wrestler at Pacific University in Forest Grove on an academic scholarship, where he had been studying to be an optometrist.
One day, Cleaver realized he could coach wrestling and teach at Nyssa High School, so he decided to return.
“It sounded like a pretty good life to me,” he said.
The event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Embassy Suites at Washington Square. Tickets are available online.
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