Contributors Hall of Fame: Tom Liakos

CONTRIBUTOR
Hall of Fame – 2011
Pender

As a freshman in high school the wrestling coach came down to the woodworking class I was in and asked if I
was out for basketball. I answered no and he then said, “Well, you aren’t out for wrestling. I guess I was wrong
about you being an athlete.” I went out for wrestling that night.

It was the influence and caring of Coach Rose that started me on the path that led me here today.
Along that path, I was lucky enough to attend practice sessions and compete against teams coached by Len
Lordino and Chuck Deter, both current Hall of Fame coaches. My interest and love of wrestling after my competitive years led me to help start the wrestling program at Minatare Ne. and then return to my old high school in Bayard Ne.
The real learning experience started though, when I moved to Pender and was asked to help with their wrestling
program then coached by Todd Ascherl. Once again, I was working alongside a great man who not only knew
the sport, but showed great caring for his wrestlers. It was then that I started coaching the youth program which
I continued for the next 21 years. We have had 14 Huskerland Champions and 3 of them have repeated that
title in high school. However, in 1999, Coach Oliver moved to Pender as their new wrestling coach and gave a
whole new meaning to coaching young men – respecting them as young men but pushing them to become men.
It is the coaching that I received from these men that fueled the desire to help with tournaments and duals,
coach in the wrestling room, and hopefully, have a positive influence on the lives of the young men that have
entered the wrestling room. Young men driven to be the best they can.

Last but not least, was the love of wrestling that my wife also has that allowed me to spend the time to become
somewhat successful in such a great sport and character-building experience that wrestling has become. He is
being introduced by his friend Denny Oliver of Pender.

 

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