By Frank Dimon
For The Daily Item
WILLIAMSPORT -- Five new members of the District 4 Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame will be inducted before the finals of the Class AA tournament at Williamsport High School on Saturday night.
The class of 2013 consists of Bob Nye of Shamokin, Don Baylor of Muncy, Bob Hall of Hughesville, Bob Lynch of Mifflinburg and Ben Hepburn of Loyalsock.
The Class AAA representatives, Marlin Van Horn of Selinsgrove and Rob Johnson of Shikellamy, were inducted during the District 4 Duals at Milton last month.
Nye compiled a 99-22-2 career record for the Indians and earned four medals at the District 4 tournament, including gold in 1991. As a junior he won a Northeast Regional championship at 275 pounds and captured a PIAA championship. He was unable to defend his title as a senior because of an injury.
Nye, who earned a health and physical education degree from Lock Haven University and a masters in sports management from the U.S. Sports Academy, teaches at Shamokin High School where he was an assistant coach for 13 years.
Baylor was a thee-sport athlete at Muncy where he won eight letters and was a member of the unbeaten 1954 football team. Baylor compiled a 32-7 record as a wrestler, winning two West Branch championships. As a junior he had just two losses, both to state champion Dave Einsel of Shamokin. In his senior year he won District 4 and Northeast Regional titles and was unbeaten until the PIAA finals where he lost 4-0 at 185 pounds.
Hall won four varsity letters at Hughesville. He was a District 4 champion and Northeast Regional runner-up at 185 pounds in 1959. At Bloomsburg State Teachers College, Hall won two Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championships, finished first and third at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national tournament, and placed fifth at the NCAA tournament. He thus became the first Bloomsburg athlete to earn All-America status.
Hall was awarded the Robert Redman Trophy as the outstanding senior athlete and was inducted into the Bloomsburg University Hall of Fame in 1998. Hall also started the wrestling program at Cocalico High School where he coached for eight years.
Lynch was the first wrestler to take the mat for the new Mifflinburg wrestling program in 1952. He compiled an unbeaten record his senior year but was unable to compete in the postseason because of a Scarlet Fever epidemic. At Lock Haven State Teachers College, Lynch placed third at 130 pounds at the NAIA tournament. He returned to Mifflinburg to teach and coach, introducing the Granby System of wrestling to central Pennsylvania. Lynch and Bob Manotti organized the first elementary tournament in District 4.
Lynch coached his three sons to nine sectional championships, five district titles, five regional crowns, three PIAA runner-up finishes and one PIAA championship. His son, Scott, was a three-time All-American and NCAA champion at Penn State. His grandson, Adam, is currently the Director of Wrestling Operations at Penn State.
Hepburn began wrestling in eighth grade and won three West-Central Sectional championships. He was a two-time district runner-up, a two-time regional runner-up and a two-time state qualifier. At Penn State, Hepburn wrestled at 177 and 190. He moved to heavyweight his senior and beat five state champions to become the starter for the Nittany Lions team that was the Eastern Wrestling League champions and ranked seventh in the NCAA.
Hepburn began his coaching career at Loyalsock as an assistant in 1984 and became the head coach in 1986. He has 276 career wins and coached 21 district champions, 19 regional champions, 38 state qualifiers, 29 state place winners and eight PIAA champions. His team was the PIAA champion in 2005. Hepburn has also been an official for 29 years.