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Michael left a legacy for UB wrestling

This is the fourth in a series of profiles on the 2016 inductees into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.

By Jack Goods

NEWS SPORTS REPORTER

Name: Ed Michael

Sport: Wrestling

Hometown: Ithaca, New York

Born: April 26, 1942

Career Overview: Ed Michael is one of the greatest wrestling coaches Western New York has seen. He is the winningest coach in the history of the University at Buffalo program.

Michael compiled a record of 215-107-3 over a 21-year career as head coach that spanned from 1971 to 1991. He led the Bulls to seven New York State Collegiate Wrestling Championships, helped UB reach the top-20 rankings 13 times and coached 107 different individual tournament winners.

“My athletes were just terrific,” Michael said. “This was major league.”

Although he is mostly remembered for his career as a coach, he also taught physical education and served as the director of recreation and intramurals for 18 years. That allowed him to interact with the regular student body, something he enjoyed.

“I saw myself as not just a coach, but an educator,” Michael said.

Memorable Moment: Michael led the Bulls to the Division III National Championship in 1977-78, where he met an old rival. Coaching Millersville University was Jerry Swope, who had beaten Michael twice during their collegiate career.

“He told me, ‘I don’t know which one of us is going to win this, but I’m glad it’s either you or me,” Michael said.

Turns out Michael got the last laugh. The title remains UB’s only team national championship in athletics.

Lots to work with: Michael coached 39 All-Americans. Ten of his wrestlers are in the UB Hall of Fame: Jim Young, Tom Jacoutot, Scott Slate, Tom Jobin, Rob Brandt, Tony Policare, Dave Hickson, Bill Stanbro, Jeff Howard and Steve Klein.

Name rights: UB honored Michael in 2011 when it named the renovated wrestling facility the Ed Michael Wrestling Complex. The renovations, which cost $350,000, added new windows, an on-site fitness center and a player lounge.

“It’s incredibly humbling,” Michael said. “In order for this facility to be built people had to support you financially.”

Quotable: “If a coach doesn’t have success in his first five years, you’re probably not going to see him in this profession too long. . . . To be able to maintain you have to have success.”

Post-Career: Michael still stays in shape using his own exercise routine, walking three miles six days a week and running the three miles on the seventh day. He maintains a vegetable garden in his backyard and enjoys sculpting and classic cars. He still is active in the UB wrestling program and doesn’t miss any of the team’s meets.

“They deserve it,” Michael said.

The GBSHOF induction dinner is Oct. 6 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Tickets can be purchased at the GBSHOF web site, buffalosportshallfame.com.

email: sports@buffnews.com

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