Former Moffat County coach Roman Gutierrez headed for Hall of Fame
Gutierrez led Bulldog wrestlers to five state titles in 31-year career with team
For decades of service to his sport, a former Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School coach will get his due next week. coach will get his due next week.
Moffat County High School coach will get his due next week.
Roman Gutierrez will be inducted into the Colorado Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of FameColorado Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame with a ceremony that takes place May 7 at the Marriott Hotel in Colorado Springs. with a ceremony that takes place May 7 at the Marriott Hotel in Colorado Springs.
Colorado Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame with a ceremony that takes place May 7 at the Marriott Hotel in Colorado Springs.
— For more information on how to attend the awards ceremony for the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Colorado Chapter, visit nwhof.org/colorado or call 303-674-4485.
Mark Schmidt, a member of the Board of Directors for the Colorado Chapter, said the honor was well deserved.
“I think his record speaks for itself, he’s a heck of a man,” he said.
Gutierrez worked as the head coach of the wrestling team from 1982 to 2013 at MCHS, a span that saw both him and his crew of grapplers throughout the years earn Moffat County a long list of honors, including five state titles for the team; won in 1985, 1994, 2001, 2002 and 2003, named Coach of the Year each time.
None of these seasons were exactly the same — the 1984-85 season concluded with no individual state champions yet just enough points earned by the team to give them the win despite being among the smallest schools in the 3A division, which was then the largest classification.
“That was probably one of the closest state tournaments in Colorado history,” Gutierrez said. “Five points separated the top four teams.”
Conversely, the 2002-03 season was one of utter domination, the Bulldogs winning every tournament and dual meet on their schedule on the way to the state finals.
During his time with the school, Gutierrez guided 18 athletes to state championship honors and 115 overall who placed at that level. MCHS collected 15 league championships in his stretch as a coach, as well as 11 regional titles and 443 dual wins, among many other distinctions the former coach said would not have been possible without the assistance of many additional coaches throughout the years and the perseverance of dozens of athletes who went through the Moffat County wrestling program.
“There were so many good kids and so many moments that were just outstanding,” he said. “Those kind of things stick out at you. Great memories at different times.”
Gutierrez will be the recipient of the Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award along with fellow Colorado names such as Michael Allison, Monty Anderson, Michael Farnsworth and Duane Goldman, while the Hall of Fame also will be acknowledging people such as Brigadier Gen. William P. Walker as Outstanding American for his service as athletic director with the United States Air Force Academy.
Receiving the Medal of Courage will be Michael Martinez, a champion high school and college wrestler originally from Pagosa Springs who survived a propane explosion in 2013.
Among additional honorees will be current Meeker High School wrestling coach JC Watt as 2A-3A Coach of the Year and four-time state champion TJ Shelton, one of two selections for 2A-3A High School Wrestler of the Year.
Gutierrez grew up in Meeker and joined the sport as a result of the late Bill Turner dissuading him from playing basketball. Gutierrez credited Turner, who passed away February 2015, as a mentor for much of his life, helping him succeed in both high school and college sports, the younger coach going on to compete at Gunnison’s Western State College of Colorado after graduating from Meeker.
Turner was even instrumental in getting Gutierrez his position with MCHS.
“I respected him as much as my dad, just an outstanding man,” he said. “We had a good relationship, and that’s the kind of thing I wanted to pass on.”
Gutierrez currently lives in Grand Junction and still gets recognized by people along the Western Slope who knew him as a familiar face of the wrestling scene and ask his advice.
“People think I still might know something,” he chuckled.
Being a large part of the wrestling community for three decades is something that stays with him no matter what as he occasionally sits in on practice sessions.
“You meet so many people that you influenced, and I hope I just gave back what I could,” he said.
The induction is something that humbles Gutierrez, who maintains that he was only one portion of a program full of winners.
“We coaches had a lot of success with great athletes who were willing to work hard and put a lot of effort into it,” he said. “Hopefully we were able to make some dreams come true.”
Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.
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