NORCROSS - Steve West has won hundreds of wrestling matches and coached more than a dozen state champions. But the former Shiloh and Grayson head wrestling coach said the biggest accomplishment of his career was coaching his son Tony.
"To be able to do this with my son is the pinnacle of my career," West said.
West and former Parkview coach Dennis Stromie, who also got to coach his son in wrestling, were two of seven inductees into the Georgia Chapter of the National Hall of Fame on Sunday in front of 375 people at the Hilton Atlanta Northeast.
Stromie and West were joined by Lassiter coach Steve Day, Jefferson coach Doug Thurmond and referee Reggie Glaze as recipients of the Lifetime Service to Wrestling award. Georgia High School Association assistant executive director Gary Phillips was honored as the Outstanding American and former middle school coach Daryll Ellrott received the Medal of Courage award.
"When I first found out about this recognition, once you get past the awe of you're kidding, you're going to be in there with some of those people that you've looked up to for so long, you take constant walks down memory lane as you lead up to this," Stromie said. "You really reflect on life. I've been so fortunate to be successful with my wrestling teams."
Stromie coached under legendary coach Brian Hage at Redan High School, where helped the Raiders to the 1984 state championship. He took over the Parkview program the following year and after some early struggles, built the Lilburn school into a wrestling power.
"Midway through the first wrestling season at Parkview, I went home and looked at my wife and said, 'Why did I do this?'" Stromie said. "After 22 years that was a no-brainer. We obviously had a great run at Parkview in all athletics and academics. But we had a great run in wrestling."
Stromie led the Panthers to 11 Gwinnett County championships, 12 region titles, dual and traditional state titles in 2004 and 2006, and had 27 state champions. Now the head wrestling coach and athletic director at West Forsyth, Stromie has a 451-49-2 career dual record.
West credited his older brother Jim for getting him started in wrestling in the sixth grade.
"I wasn't really good at it at first, but it got in to my blood and was something I really enjoyed doing," West said.
West was a two-time NCAA qualifier at Central Missouri State and moved to Georgia in the early 1980s. In 1984, he started the wrestling program at Shiloh, where he was the head coach until 2001. During his time at the Snellville school, West was Gwinnett County Coach of the Year in 1994 and 1996. He coached two three-time state champions in Chad Marley and Dustin Kawa.
West started the Grayson wrestling program in 2001 and he was the head coach until 2008. His son Tony was a two-time state placer for the Rams. During his coaching tenure, West posted a 296-122-2 dual record with 15 state champions and 28 state placers.
"For 11 years as a competitor and 31 years as a coach I received many rewards from wrestling," West said. "Much of my success and outlook on life came from my mom and dad, who supported me in my events and for that I wanted to say I love you."
Stromie and West join Walt and Bud Hennebaul, Cliff Ramos, Kyle Maynard, Steve Ranus, Brent Shiver and Paul White as members of the hall of fame with Gwinnett ties.