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Two former Gwinnett coaches, one wrestler to be inducted into HOF

It's hard for Steve Ranus to pinpoint one outstanding team, moment or wrestler from his wrestling coaching career.

When you've been involved with the sport nearly your whole life and have 30-plus years of coaching behind you, they tend to get jumbled together.

Next month though Ranus will have a moment he'll surely remember for a long time. The former Norcross wrestling coach and current Dacula assistant coach will be inducted into the Georgia chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame on Sept. 9.

"There's nothing that compares to it, I've just been overwhelmed by it," the 57-year-old Ranus said. "It's just been great and I've been blessed. All these years in Gwinnett County, all the great wrestlers I've been able to coach."

Ranus is one of three people with local ties who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Former Dacula wrestling coach Paul White, who is now an assistant coach at South Forsyth, and former Parkview wrestler Brent Shiver also will be inducted.

"Oh gee, I'm excited and humbled by it more than anything," White said. "It's going to be an honor to all the wrestlers and assistant coaches that have helped get me here."

The induction and ceremony will take place at the Northeast Atlanta Hilton in Norcross. There will be a meet and greet at 3 p.m. and the ceremony will start at 4 p.m. Anyone interested in attending can call Paul White at 678-316-7311 or Bud Hennebaul at 678-794-5756 for an invitation.

Ranus is one of four

coaches to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. The 2007 class also includes White, Alpharetta athletic director Mike Cloy and former Lumpkin County coach Thomas Edwards.

The Medal of Courage award will be presented to Shiver. The three-time state champion was born deaf and went on to wrestle at Northwestern University.

The Outstanding American award will be presented to James Mills, a member of the state house of representatives and a former high school wrestler, who is working to reinstate college wrestling in the Georgia.

All six inductees will have a plaque hung in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Stillwater, Okla., which is located on the campus of Oklahoma State University.

Ranus, White and Shiver will join Walt Hennebaul Jr. and Kyle Maynard as the only other Gwinnetians in the Hall of Fame.

"I think everybody knows who Steve Ranus is," said Georgia Hall of Fame board member Bud Hennebaul. "He's been around Gwinnett wrestling for as long as it's existed in the county. It used to be his Norcross team and Jay Gassman's Berkmar team that were the best in the county. At Norcross he always had good wrestlers."

White was a head coach at Gainesville and North Hall before going to Dacula in 1998. His first year with the program the Falcons struggled in Class AA and by the time White left in 2002 Dacula was a top-10 team in Class AAAAA. With Ranus as his assistant coach, the duo guided Paul Stansbury to four state titles. Now an assistant coach at South Forsyth, White holds a 261-64-5 career record.

White's teams won 38 tournaments, including 10 Hall County championships and he was named area coach of the year seven times. White was also honored by the National Wrestling Coaches Association in 2005 with the coaching leadership award.

As a head coach at Norcross, Ranus collected more than 180 victories. He coached two state champions - Roger Rivas and Louis Dean - won several region titles and the highest finish at the state tournament was fifth.

He's been an assistant coach at Dacula since the early 90s, a post he still holds today.

"Wrestling is a sport where it's more about camaraderie," Ranus said. "People involved in wrestling know each other. The kids you coach, you stay in touch with. It's a life long thing."