Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Schultz to be inducted in IWCOA

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The legacy of wrestling in Harvard continues to grow as the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association recently announced that long-time Harvard High School assistant coach Neil Schultz will be inducted in its hall of fame in April.

Schultz, who grew up in Harvard, started wrestling in junior high and high school. He graduated from HHS in 1975 and wrestled at Carthage College. After college, he was head coach at Tremper High School in Kenosha, Wis., for one year. He moved back to Harvard and was out of coaching for a few years.

In the early ’80s, he began coaching at Harvard Junior High School when Dick Holtfreter was still head coach at the high school. He became assistant coach at the high school under Tim Haak, where he also served on the football coaching staff, until 2006.

“I’m obviously very honored,” Schultz said. “I’m a bit surprised and flattered. It’s kind of hard to put into words. It’s something I’ve done all my life because I love it. It’s very nice to be recognized by others for work you have done.”

“We’re just extremely proud and happy for him,” Haak said. “He’s been involved as an assistant coach in wrestling for over 20 years, and there are not many assistant coaches or head coaches anymore that stay with programs that long. He’s such a loyal and dedicated individual.

“The success we have had all these years was due in a lot of ways to Neil. We’re very fortunate to have him all these years as part of our wrestling family.”

Schultz, who taught for nine years, has run the family business, Acro-Magnetics in Chemung, for 15 years.

Schultz came back to coaching football to assist his oldest son, David, with the HHS freshman/sophomore team. He also assists the wrestling program with tournaments.

“That’s something I have always wanted to do – coach with my son,” Schultz said. “I coached them all so it was another way of doing things together we both like.

His favorite memories are coaching his sons David, Tyler and Adam.

“That was a pleasure being able to work with them everyday,” Schultz said.

His other memories of coaching include the state championship in 1992, walking the grand march with David when was in the state finals in 2001 and participating in the school’s 50th anniversary celebration of the wrestling program.

“It was pretty neat to see the history of the program and how it has grown all these years,” Schultz said. “How we’ve had success through a number of coaches and keep going strong.”

Looking back on his time coaching, Schultz credits those around him for supporting him in his efforts.

“You don’t do it alone,” Schultz said. “I had great support. I learned to wrestle from John Sciacca and Dick Holtfreter who are both in the hall of fame, and I coached with Tim who also is in the hall of fame. I was surrounded by great people. My family has always been supportive. The time commitment is substantial but they have always made it easy.”