ATASCADERO — Former Atascadero Greyhounds wrestling coach Dan Pry will be inducted into the CIF Southern Section Hall of Fame on Oct. 17 in Long Beach. Pry was the head coach of the Greyhound wrestling team from 1984 through 1995 and during that time won seven team CIF Southern Section (CIF SS) Championships, coached 16 individual CIF SS champion wrestlers and 55 individual CIF SS place winners.
Through the 12 years with Pry as head coach, the Hounds’ dual record was 169-17 bringing home 10 out 12 league titles during his tenure. Pry also coached at Newbury Park High School before coming to Atascadero, where he coached for nine years and also experienced great success with a dual meet record of 96-18.
However, while Pry represents the gold standard for wrestling excellence, it is his character and dedication to educating young people that have made him a pillar of this community.
“His accomplishments speak for themselves,” Atascadero athletic director Sam DeRose said. “Everything he represents, not just in sports, but in the community, is phenomenal. He has affected so many lives and had such a positive influence on people and in the community.”
Pry not only coached wrestling, he also coached frosh football for 19 years, boys junior varsity tennis for 16 years, led the girls varsity tennis team to a league championship in 2005 and taught for 32 years (retiring in 2007).
During his tenure the school created a wrestling room was renovated and constantly full of students of all skill levels.
“When kids get used to winning, they like it,” Pry said. “And hopefully they get that extra step to work even harder. We were fortunate enough to have a couple really good years and the kids responded and made me look good.”
Pry was instrumental in the development of the Atascadero Wrestling Club which consistently teaches over 70 kids in fifth through eighth grades and established the popular “Bones BBQ,” in 1986.
Perhaps Pry’s greatest achievement is not an achievement at all, but rather his family-oriented culture that he left imprinted into the fabric of Atascadero wrestling.
“The strength of Dan Pry’s legacy is the family concept he has instilled in Atascadero. He is the heart of Atascadero wrestling. He has built, established and nurtured a framework for wrestling in our community and a thriving opportunity for young people to experience the benefits of participation in the great sport of wrestling,” former Atascadero wrestling coach and noted Pry apprentice Chris Ferree said. “Dan created an environment where relationships were as important as the skills learned...and used wrestling as a medium to bring families and individuals together to strive toward something bigger than any individual.”
Pry not only coached his athletes, he also coached his coaches and while he may have retired as the head coach he never left. Pry became an assistant coach in 1996 and helped the Greyhounds continue their excellence.
“It was after 1995 and he [Ferree] was already well groomed and ready to go,” Pry said. “And had a bunch of people after him, we basically switched places. I enjoyed working under Chris, and Jeff, got a lot of enjoyment out of it. Chris might have even been better at it than me.”
With Pry as an assistant the Hounds kept winning and added four more CIFSS Championships in 2003-04 and 2009-10 and finishing as runner-ups in 1988, 1999, 2002 and 2007-08.
“No honor can ever adequately recognize what Dan Pry means to me as a mentor, coach, and friend,” Ferree said. “I wrestled three years for him, served as an assistant coach under him for six years and he was my assistant for 10 years... It is fair to say that I know Dan Pry and I have been around wrestling long enough to know greatness. I can think of no more fitting an honor than Dan Pry for the Hall of Fame.”