RAYMOND – Longtime educator and coach Fred Spale will be inducted into the Nebraska Scholastic Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame in Grand Island on Friday, June 7.
Spale will go in as a contributor alongside nine other influential athletes, coaches and officials at the 38th annual NSWCA Hall of Fame banquet.
“It’s quite an honor. Norm (Manstedt) gave me a call and I received a letter. I have gone to several banquets over the years and now I am getting put into the Hall of Fame,” Spale said.
Spale has taught and coached for 44 years, the last 13 years at Raymond Central High School, where he teaches Physical Education and is an assistant coach for the varsity wrestling team.
Spale got his start at Logan-Magnolia High School in Iowa in 1976, but it was in West Point where he left his mark.
Spale took a job at West Point Central Catholic High School in 1978. The Bluejays did not have a wrestling program until Spale, who was the head football coach, approached the administration about starting up a high school wrestling program.
They agreed, and for the next 13 years, Spale taught and coached the varsity wrestling team in West Point.
Spale left West Point in 1996 and prior to ending up at Raymond Central High School he taught and coached at Archbishop Bergan High School, Omaha Roncalli and Schuyler High School.
Spale arrived at Raymond Central in 2006 when he was hired to coach the football team. He served as head coach until 2010 and has been involved in coaching ever since.
He is currently an assistant for head coach Harold Pester for the varsity wrestling team and also serves as an assistant on the girl’s track and field team.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time here. I’ve got a chance to coach and teach with some great people here,” said Spale.
The Mustangs wrestling program has prospered under Pester and the Mustang coaching staff over the better part of two decades.
Raymond Central has had a winning dual record six straight seasons and has had at least one state medalist in each of the past 13 seasons.
“The program is really doing well. We have dedicated coaches and the youth program is strong,” said Spale.
Spale is grateful for opportunity to still be teaching and coaching after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2016.
Over the past three years, Spale has beaten prostate cancer and lymphoma and is currently cancer free.
“It has been a real battle the last couple of years, but fortunately, I am still able to teach and coach,” Spale stated.
When asked if he has thought about retiring, Spale said that as long as he is able he still wants to coach and teach.
“I’m not ready to retire yet. I still enjoy coming to work every day,” Spale quipped.
When he isn’t coaching Spale enjoys hunting and fishing with his son who lives in Chicago.
The Hall of Fame banquet will be held at the Border’s Inn and Suites in Grand Island on Saturday beginning at 5 p.m.