Ex-Tiger Mammen receiving Hall call

Ex-Tiger Mammen receiving Hall call

Wayne Mammen means a great deal to wrestling at Urbana High School.

And to the sport as well. The former Urbana coach is finding out what he means on the national stage, too.

Mammen is slated to receive the lifetime service award from the Illinois chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame during a banquet Sunday evening at the Holiday Inn in Bloomington.

“Any time you’re recognized by a national organization, it’s a relatively big deal,” said Mammen, who coached wrestling at Urbana from 1970 to 1990, with the Tigers winning nine straight regional titles from 1982 to 1990. “I know guys that I have coached against and so forth that are in it, but when I found out about it last month, I was a little surprised.”

Mammen remembers well the early days of his coaching career at Urbana, but not for all the wins and the seven state medalists that would follow.

“It was kind of a struggle to get going because I didn’t have an assistant for quite a few years,” Mammen said. “They only had one mat. We used to have to wrestle junior varsity first and then the varsity. Some of the other coaches in the conference were upset with that because they wanted them to wrestle at the same time. I got the administration to realize what was happening, and we got two mats. Eventually I got some assistants, too.”

The past 18 months have featured Mammen serving as grand marshal during the state wrestling tournament at State Farm Center, having his sons, Mark and Kirk, paint a mural of him in the wrestling room at Urbana — which is named after him — and now this honor.

“You don’t really think about all of it,” Mammen said, “but it’s been a whirlwind. A fun whirlwind.”

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ROB McCOLLEY wrote on October 15, 2016 at 6:10 am
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Wayne Mammen was, by far, the best coach I had in my entire sporting career. That includes various levels of football, basketball, baseball, softball and soccer.

By far.

I rank Wayne Mammen among the top motivators/sports psychologists I've ever encountered (and as a sports reporter, I encounter quite a few). He was also extremely good at recognizing the strengths & weaknesses of his teams. You'd think that might be a common trait in the coaching profession, but you live in Illini Country, so I don't need to explain that it's not  ...