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City of Aurora recognizes Dick Bliss for long coaching career

by BOB GAETJENS | REPORTER Published: August 31, 2016 1:00 AM
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Aurora -- Veteran Aurora High wrestling coach Dick Bliss received a proclamation at City Council's Aug. 22 meeting, congratulating him for induction earlier this summer into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

"I, Ann Womer Benjamin ... do hereby congratulate Dick Bliss on his induction into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and send him best wishes on this auspicious achievement," states the proclamation.

It also outlines some of his achievements, which include leading teams to nine top 10 finishes in the state over his 51-year career, including a state championship for AHS in 1995; and seven individual state champs (Todd Jindra, Randy Jenkins, Jon Stratton, Phil Quinn, Josh Schroeder, Tim Courtad and Ty Mitch, a three-timer).

He's also led the Greenmen to 12 conference championships, seven sectional titles and three district crowns.

Bliss, who also served as athletic director at AHS, has coached wrestling for 44 years at AHS.

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"I can tell you, I never went to work a day in my life," he told Council. "My daughter is here today, and her kids are in school here now. Thank you."

Several Council members recounted memories of Bliss and thanked him for his service.

"You mentioned it was 1972 that we both got hired in Aurora," said Councilman John Kudley. "You mold boys into upstanding young men. For that, you are to be congratulated."

Bliss said he recalled Council rep Harold Hatridge running the sideline chains at football games.

Hatridge said he also had a memory of Bliss, which he said stick in the memories of many AHS football fans.

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"There's one phrase we all miss: 'Hold it! There's a hanky on the field,'" he said, referring to penalty flags.

Council member Scott Wolf said he was a student when he first got to know the coach.

"When you go through school and you have people like that you can look up to for guidance, that's invaluable," he said.

"You were a constant and positive presence for all of those years. There were many a night I spent out on my patio listening to football games, loving every minute of it."

Council President George Horvat offered Bliss the "best of luck" in the coming season.

Email: bgaetjens@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4188

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