Coaches Hall of Fame: Paul Sok

Hall of Fame – 1996

This individual comes with an armful of credentials (six pps.) and a boatload of nominations. In one nominating letter we are told, “Paul has dedicated his whole life to the sport of wrestling in Nebraska. The time and commitment that Paul puts into the sport of wrestling in Nebraska exemplifies what a Hall of Fame member should be. Paul is respected not only in the town of Winside, he is also respected in the wrestling community throughout the state.” Holding a career record of 89-10-1 at Oakland Craig High School, he was a 3x District Champ (’71-’73), 2x State Champ (’72-’73), All American, first in State Freestyle in “73, South American Cultural Exchange Team, 6th & 8th at National. Junior Olympics, and 2nd in the Western Regional Junior World. Now we move on to college: wrestling at McCook Community College and Wayne State, Paul’s record was 48-38-1. He was 4th in the Junior College Regional, 3rd in National Junior World Freestyle, on the Nebraska team vs Korea, USWF Nebraska team assistant coach in ’75, 1st in the NAIA Regionals in ’76, and on the Nebraska/Iowa team vs Mexico in ’75. Now this young man is ready for the rigors of coaching: Dunning Sandhills, Sioux County, Winside, Hyde Prep School in Maine, and then back to Winside, where he remains today. Once again the credentials roll on: 7 District Team titles and 5 second place finishes. Fifteen Top Ten finishes at State with 3 of those being in the runner-up spotlight. He has had 14 State Champs, 6 runners-up, 59 state placers, over 100 state qualifiers, and 15 NSWCA Academic All State Wrestlers. (This guy is smart, too, and it shows through the young men he teaches as well as coaches.) His career dual record as a coach is 80-37-3, with 4 of those seasons being undefeated, and 12-7 in freestyle. More frosting on this three-tiered wrestling extravaganza: Paul was elected NSWCA President 3x (’85,’89,’93 – finally giving the Hall of Fame selection committee a break since members setting on the board are ineligible for nomination.) He has been a member of NSWCA since 1978 and knows Sheryl’s phone number by heart. A National Science Foundation Grant recipient 3 x, Paul counts his best memory in wrestling as being the move he made from 112 to 126 his senior year in high school . He defeated the returning State Champ that year , as well as the 3rd and 4th place finishers to win his second State Crown. Then later, in the spring of that same year, he defeated Roye Oliver (Hall ’89) to take the State AAU Championship title. Paul is introduced by, not one, but three of the members of his adopted family: Mark Koch, a former wrestler of Paul’s, now coaching at Pope John Central; Tom Koch, his assistant coach for a number of years; and Leon Koch (Hall ’86), the ‘adopted father’ that snagged him away from Maine and back to Winside!!

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