Competitors Hall of Fame: Paul Allen

COMPETITOR
Hall of Fame – 2001
Omaha South &
University of Nebraska
at Omaha

Wrestling! Wrestling! Wrestling! It gets in your blood. It invades your life. It becomes a part of your family. You live, breathe, eat, and sleep this great sport and who better to epitomize it than Paul Martinez. Paul was first introduced to this fascinating sport by Buggs Redden at Vinton School in ‘59-’60. His first match was against a blind person and Paul lost. As a freshman at Omaha South the next year, he decided to give it another try. He was 4’ 11”, weighed 83 1/2 lbs but made Junior Varsity and ended the season with a record of 17-1. Lucky for Coach Beau Haizlip ( Hall ‘84). His sophomore year he made Varsity & moved his record up to 25-2 taking 2nd at State. His only 2 losses were to Phil Duggen of Omaha Westside (a rumor has it this new assistant coach by the name of Lou Miloni (Hall ‘86) worked specifically with Duggen to defeat Martinez 🙂 . Paul was undefeated in ‘63-’64 and pinned all but 4 of his 28 matches. In ‘64-’65 he moved up 2 weight classes to 112 to help the team. He lost twice but came back to defeat those two taking State with a record of 26 -2, closing out his high school career with 96 wins and 5 losses. Wanting to work a year before going to college, Paul was drafted and went to Vietnam for 12 months and 22 days. He received 68 Vietnam Campaign Ribbons, the Combat Infantry Badge and the Army Commendation Medal for this experience. After being out of school for 4 years he decided to enroll at UNO. Coach Don Benning (Hall ‘85) told him he would pay for his books and if he could “prove” himself he would get a full scholarship. He did just that his second semester. However, he credits his brother, Tony, and Curlee Alexander (Hall ‘91) for getting him ready because he also became a National Qualifier. More impressive stats: Bellevue Invitational Champion Outstanding Wrestler, 2nd & 1st at Intercity Conference, South High Invitational Champ, 3x District Champ, 2x State Champ ( 95 & 112 lbs.), and Hustler Award for Scholastic and Wrestling Excellence. In college: Honor Roll 4 years with a GPA of 3.7, 3rd UNO Invitational, on the National Championship Team, 3rd & 1st Rocky Mountain Conference, 6th , 2nd, & 3rd NAIA Nationals, District Champ, Who’s Who in College, Outstanding Mexican-American in South Omaha, 2x captain of the wrestling team and ending with a record of 86-20. But there is more to this saga than being a participant – After college, Paul went to Janesville, WI where he helped with Craig High School and the YMCA Coming back to Nebraska in 1980 he got involved with the Ryan Wrestling team under Coach Forrest Dalton. He took over the Metro Youth Wrestling Program when Sam Marico passed away and still works with it today. He gets new officials mat- time by giving them experience in the little kids programs in Iowa and Nebraska. He also does wrestling assignments for the River City Conference and has been helping to line up varsity wrestling assignments for the schools in Western Iowa Conference. Recalling one of his best memories in his career was in 1973 when Coach Benning was getting Dennis Cozad ready to wrestle Curt Alexander from Missouri. He was the NCAA National Champ of the previous year. When they got to the tournament it was Paul that wrestled him and beat him 8-4! Another special moment was when Coach Haizlip took him to watch Oklahoma and Iowa State wrestle in 1965. “ I had never seen so many people watch a match before. There was standing room only, with a big light on the mat, it was amazing.” Introducing Paul will be his brother, Anthony J. Martinez and his former high school coach, Beau Haizlip, Hall ‘84

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