Wrestling HOF tabs Ramos, Hennebaul

Two of the most accomplished people in Gwinnett County's wrestling history have received another honor.

Collins Hill coach Cliff Ramos and former Parkview wrestler Bud Hennebaul will be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in September.

"I was really surprised because I'm too young for that thing," Hennebaul said with a laugh. "It's a great honor and I'm just humbled by it."

Hennebaul, 47, will receive the Lifetime Service to Wrestling award, while Ramos is one of three coaches who will be inducted during a Sept. 7 ceremony at the Northeast Atlanta Hilton in Norcross.

Hennebaul was Parkview's first state champion in 1978. He went on to coach at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. Hennebaul returned to Georgia and has been a referee for 24 years and is the president of the Metro Atlanta Wrestling Officials organization.

However, Hennebaul's greatest contribution to the sport came in 2006. He was a driving force behind putting all five classifcations' traditional state tournaments under one roof at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

"I think the state tournament is the big thing. He's responsible for getting all five classifications under one roof for the state tournament," said Walt Hennebaul Jr., Chairman of the board of directors for the Georgia chapter of the wrestling hall of fame. "He's been in it for so long and all of the high school coaches think he does a great job. I think he's done so much for the sport."

Said Ramos: "If anybody deserves to be in it, (Hennebaul) does. He's just one of those guys that just does it for the sport."

Ramos began his coaching career in Georgia at East Hall High School in 1981. Ramos moved on to Meadowcreek where he led the team to a fourth-place finish at state, its highest ever. Under Ramos, the Mustangs had 14 state placers and two state champions. Meadowcreek won its only county championship under Ramos in 1993.

When Collins Hill opened in 1994, Ramos moved over and built the Eagles into a state power. Since 2000, Collins Hill has placed in the top three at the state tournament every year, no other team, male or female, has done that at the highest classification.

"He's done such a good job at Collins Hill," Walt Hennebaul Jr. said.

"He's been in it a long time and he's just really great for the sport."

Ramos has a 550-74 dual meet record and has led Collins Hill to state championships in 2002 and 2005 and eight area championships. Under Ramos, the Eagles have had 19 individual state champions and 59 state placers.

"It's a great honor," Ramos said. "But the biggest honor I've gotten is when a couple of my former wrestlers from 30 years ago visited me in Missouri in December.

"We talked and they're very successful and have families, but when they left they said 'See you coach.' For 47-year-old men to still have that kind of respect for me, that's an honor for me."

Bud Hennebaul will join his father Walt Hennebaul Jr., Kyle Maynard, Steve Ranus, Brent Shiver and Paul White as the only people with Gwinnett ties in the hall of fame.

Other people inducted into the hall are former Cook County coach W.L. Hughes, Henry County coach Marty Hustell, Marietta athletic director Jeff Wheeler and Michael Mills, who will receive the Medal of Courage award.

"I get paid to be a referee, but all the other stuff I do, I do because I love wrestling," Hennebaul said.

SideBar: Wrestling

· What: National Wrestling Hall of Fame induction ceremony

· When: Sept. 7

· Where: Northeast Atlanta Hilton, Norcross

· Noteworthy: Collins Hill coach Cliff Ramos and former Parkview wrestler Bud Hennebaul will be inducted