Dondero grad is a Hall of Famer
This beginning of this column is offered with sincere apologies to Chagall, Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Picasso, Andy Warhol, Peter Max and every grade school, junior high, middle school and high school art teacher.
Petoskey High School Hall of Fame wrestling coach Ray Arthur certainly has nothing against art. In fact, he has nothing but admiration for artists and their craft.
Arthur readily admits that when it comes to artistic talent, he was not
exactly at the top of the grade curve.
“I think I have the artistic ability of a caveman and his stick figures,”
said Arthur, laughing. “My prowess ended at finger painting.”
So he is certainly not pointing any fingers when he says his motivation to get into wrestling stemmed from a chuckling bribe offered by Frank Goldberg, his eighth grade physical education teacher at Clara Barton Junior High in Royal Oak.
“Frank Goldberg told me that if I competed in the city wrestling championships, I could take another semester of phys ed instead of art class,” said Arthur.
Arthur proceeded to win the city championship.
“I was small. I wrestled at 105 as a freshman, and then 112 as a sophomore, junior and senior. Small did not go well with basketball or football. In wrestling, I got a chance to compete with people my own size. It was the same with tennis. Size did not matter.”
Arthur also was captain of the tennis team at Dondero.
He wrestled four years at Dondero High School in Royal Oak where he earned four letters. He later wrestled at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.
He did his student teaching at Mount Pleasant High School, a school with a strong wrestling tradition. While Arthur was there, the team won a state championship.
“When I was a kid, we went up to Lake Charlevoix every summer,” said Arthur. “I worked the gates on the Ironton Ferry. I picked cherries in the orchards. We went swimming and fished all of the time. I loved it and that experience created some permanent memories.”
That is why, when Arthur started sending out resumes after graduating from CMU, he limited his search to communities either on the Great Lakes or on substantial inland lakes.
“They needed a wrestling coach in Petoskey,” said Arthur. “They needed someone with a background in social studies. I had a double major in social studies and physical education.”
While Arthur is in his 33rd year teaching at Petoskey High School, he stepped down as the wrestling coach after the 2010 season. He will be inducted into the Michigan Wrestling Association Hall of Fame on Friday, Nov. 11, at the Causeway Bay Hotel in Lansing.
He led the Northmen to a 685-142-8 dual meet record. Those 685 wins rank
fourth among high school wrestling coaches in the state, and ninth nationally.
Arthur’s teams won 20 league championships, 13 team district and seven team regional titles, and his 1996 squad won the Class B state championship.
Until then, no school north of Mount Pleasant had ever won a state
He coached his son, Kegan, who is now wrestler at Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Kegan was a four-time letter winner, a two-time individual medalist, and
Petoskey High’s all-team leader in victories with 201.
“I loved the interaction with the kids in coaching,” said Arthur. “I enjoyed meeting them and helping them develop in and out of school. Also, due to my longevity in the sport, I was also lucky enough to coach the children of some of my former athletes. That is always a fun thing.
“Petoskey is a small town. There is not a place or business where I can go where I don’t run into former students or athletes.”
Ray and Toni Arthur live on Walloon Lake. That’s the same lake where Ernest Hemingway spent 22 years at the family cottage.
Hemingway was an author, not an artist. That is probably good for everyone.