At this rate, Ray Arthur may one day have a spot in as many halls of fame as he had dual-meet victories.
OK, a slight exaggeration.
Still, that says as much about the number of wins Arthur accumulated in his 31 years as Petoskey High School’s wrestling coach, and the respect he earned over that three-plus-decade span as one of the most successful prep coaches in state history.
Arthur, who stepped down after the 2010 season, will be inducted into the Michigan Wrestling Association Hall of Fame on Friday, Nov. 11, at the Causeway Bay Hotel in Lansing.
“To me it’s the highest honor because … you’re being honored by your peers, so that makes it special,” said Arthur, who is already member of both the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame and the National Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame. “I had a lot of coaches when I was younger and just coming up through the ranks and many of those coaches eventually were inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“It’s kind of a tribute to the help I got from those other coaches, and the hard work a lot of other people put in as well.
“It wouldn’t have happened without all the support I received from the athletes and the parents and our school system over those 31 years. That allowed me to do the things I did in order to build the program.”
And what a program the Royal Oak native built.
Arthur, who wrestled at Central Michigan University, led the Northmen to a 685-142-8 dual-meet record. His 685 wins rank fourth among Michigan high school wrestling coaches, and ninth nationally.
He led the Northmen to 20 league championships, 13 team district and seven team regional crowns, and his 1996 squad won the Class B state championship.
In the process, Arthur earned myriad regional and state coach-of-the-year honors, and was the state nominee for the National Wrestling Coach of the Year award in 1996, and a semifinalist for that honor in 2007.
Among the many highlights, he said, were winning the team state title in ’96 and coaching his son, Kegan, a four-year letter winner, a two-time state individual medalist, and the school’s all-time leader in victories with 201. Kegan Arthur is now wrestling at the University of Wisconson-Whitewater.
“I think another thing is it was kind of special to be able to coach the children of your former athletes,” Ray Arthur said. “That was kind of fun, seeing the second generation come around.”
Arthur coached countless individual district and regional medalists, along with many who went on to medal in the state finals.
“Ray built a program that is the envy of high school wrestling coaches far and wide,” Petoskey athletic director Gary Hice said. “This is a very prestigious and deserved honor for a man who put his entire heart and soul into it. We’re very happy for him, and very proud.”