After 31 years, Elmwood's Dave Lee is retiring with most dual wins in Ohio history
More than 530 dual wins qualifies him as a state record holder, but Elmwood's Dave Lee is leaving the mats at the varsity level after 31 years as a Royal.
"I like the wrestling coaches here. I like the kids here at Elmwood. It's a great group of people. I think the administration is pro-sports and pro-wrestling."
During his tenure, he saw 78 state qualifiers and 78 league champions, including 10 league titles as a team.
He also saw four sons go through the ranks, each coming back to help coach at some point.
"It was awesome. I know one thing, my heart rate went up tremendously hire than with other wrestlers because they were my own sons."
It won't be the end of the road for Lee, though. He'll join his son Mitch's junior high squad as an assistant.
"I coach at the junior high now, and I try to model myself after him. Make the kids work hard, teach them to be good people, on and off the mat, too," said Mitch Lee.
For Mitch, Trevor, Westley, and Dexter, Coach Lee was supportive of whatever they wanted to do, but wrestling is in their blood.
"When we were kids, he used to always be like, 'if you want to do basketball, you can do basketball.' It was like he wouldn't necessarily approve it, but we'd accept it," declared Dexter Lee.
From graduating from Elmwood in 1978, to taking over the coaching duties in 1987, and now the longest-tenured head coach among the 112 schools with wrestling programs in the Northwest District, Lee believes he taught a lot of young men on how to succeed after graduation.
"Even on the days you don't wrestle, you get beat up. I think that if you keep on coming back and getting better each day, I think it helps you in life."
Coach Lee has coached officially for 35 years, with 31 as a Royal. Following the season, Elmwood will hang a banner honoring him and his state record.