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Coach Ron Finley

Today, we lost a great man, leader, husband, father, mentor and coach. A former University of Oregon Wrestling Alumni, Hank Hosfield summed up Coach Finley’s character today, after finding out about Coach’s passing…

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“Dear Ron,

I’ve been lucky to know you most of my life.

I was first introduced to you through Jim McIrvin, one of your wrestlers who lived next door to the Gallups, who had the biggest backyard playing field in the neighborhood, and whose oldest son David was the first guy who told me I was going be a wrestler. Jim and David playfully worked me over. Jim hooked me up with a couple t-shirts from the USWF Greco-Roman championships from you and also got me a gig selling programs at the Oregon wrestling meets. I think I was in 8th grade by then. Anyway, it was such a thrill to meet you and to work for you. I liked you so much right away, I hoped maybe someday you’d be my coach.

You’ve got to see me grow up from the 48 KG high schooler. You welcomed me into your room long before I would do your program any good. You hung with me through my struggles, through injury and disappointment and the hard journey to find one’s direction. At times, you were like a second father.

You taught me many valuable things—much by example. You’re always eager to volunteer and give back. Your positivity is infectious. Your competitive spirit rivals any. And your heart is boundless.

This life we’re given is for helping each other through—learning, teaching and loving. You’ve done your bit and more.

We had a lot of fun, including victories, and challenges, and enduring friendship. I carry so many wonderful memories in which you played a part.

I don’t want to say goodbye to you. But if we must give you back to the universe, know that I believe you are embarking on the next stage of an amazing journey, and what is unfinished here is only for us. And like you, I still have Zero Quit.

My heart feels very full. You helped fill it and will forever have a place in it. It’s love you gave, and love I will continue to share with others.

I love you, Ron. Everyone loves you.

I’m profoundly grateful for you.

You are stardust. You are golden.”

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by Hank Hosfield, UO Wrestling Alumni, Class of 1981

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Dr. Mike Reuter, University of Oregon Wrestling Coach from 1958 to 1964, will receive the Medal of Courage for his service in World War II at the Oregon Chapter, National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Honors Banquet Saturday April 30, 2016. Please join us as we honor his service to our country and our sport during the celebration at the Washington Square Embassy Suites Hotel in Tigard, Oregon. A social begins at 4:00 p.m. and dinner at 6:30.

Get reservation form: http://saveoregonwrestling.org/HOF_2016.pdf


Coach Reuter holding his photo as a Lieutenant at beginning of WWII

Mike wrestled at Hill Military Academy in Portland and Washington State University. When WWII broke out, he entered the US Army in 1942 and was sent to Europe as a Second Lieutenant in the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion. He fought at Anzio Beachhead, in Italy, where Allied Forces were soon surrounded by ten German divisions. He was wounded by shrapnel in the arm, chest and head. After a month in a hospital he rejoined his unit and fought through southern France and the Battle of the Bulge. His unit took heavy losses (about 80%) in Belgium and Mike was the only remaining officer in his company. Surviving members of the battalion then became part of the 82nd Airborne Division for the advance into western Germany. His medals include the Combat Infantry Badge, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, six Battle Stars, and France’s highest honor for soldiers, Knight of the Legion of Honor.

After WWII, he returned to WSU unable to wrestle, due to combat injuries and lingering malaria, but was selected coach of the wrestling team 1946-48 (restarting the program). Following graduation, he was assistant wrestling coach at the University of Illinois 1948-51, head coach at the University of Washington 1957-58, and then head coach at the University of Oregon from 1958 to 1964. He continued as professor of PE and taught statistics for Physical Education until retirement in 1989.

Dr. Reuter officiated wrestling from 1950 to 1982, including 1952 final Olympic trials, 1955 & 1958 NCAA Tournaments, 1955-56-57 Big Ten Tournaments, 15 State High School tournaments and numerous district tournaments and dual meets. He served as secretary of the American Wrestling Coaches Association 1949-1951, where he published the quarterly newsletter and conducted the first national survey of college coaches concerning NCAA rules.


Coach Reuter receiving the French Legion of Honor Award February, 2015

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