Ron Curtis and family leave mark on Truckee wrestling
April 22, 2013
Truckee senior wrestler Tyler Curtis, the state Division I-A runner-up finisher at 182 pounds, placed seventh last week at the Reno World of Wrestling Tournament, which included 1,800 wrestlers from 38 states.
To medal at a tournament of this caliber is a big deal. There have only been three Truckee wrestlers who have placed at this tournament — Buck Claesson, Truckee's only two-time state champion, Kyle Mullen, who is in the Truckee Hall of Fame, and now Curtis.
On Friday, Curtis won his first two matches of the tournament, 12-4 against Tyler Opie of Oregon and by pin over Toby Fizjarrell of California.
Saturday proved to be more challenging. Curtis' first match was a close 3-2 loss to the eventual third-place finisher, Dylan Sackett of Utah. Curtis bounced back in his next match, winning 12-6 against Josh Rus of California. His last match of the day was another close loss, 4-3 to Danny Welds of Hawaii, the eventual fourth-place finisher.
Sunday was the medal rounds and Curtis' last match was against Curtis Crouch of Oregon. The match was tied 2-2 going into the last period, and with four seconds remaining, Curtis scored a two-point reversal by fighting for a single leg takedown, giving him seventh place.
Curtis finished his senior year with a 28-3 record to go along with his second-place finish in the state championship. He posted a career high school record of 101-49, and is trying to decide whether to wrestle or play football on the next level.
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"His passion is football," said his father and coach, Ron Curtis, "but he comes from a long lineage of wrestling, and it seems wrestling keeps beckoning him. It's hard to ignore his success in wrestling."
Tyler Curtis had big shoes to fill his senior year. His older brothers laid some tough standards to live up to.
Timothy Curtis, a 2007 grad, was a runner-up in the state championship. Brothers James (2001 grad) and Danny (1999 grad) were both high school state champions. Danny Curtis became an All-American in College and was part of the National Championship team from University of Nevada, Reno, and holds high school records and state of Nevada records. Between football and wrestling, all the Curtis brothers have a combined seven state championship rings.
Ron Curtis steps down after more than three decades
Their father, Ron Curtis, retired at the conclusion of this season after 34 years of coaching Truckee wrestling.
"I started back in 1979 coaching the youth programs," Ron Curtis said. "In 1985 I was approached from some of the parents at the high school, asking if I could take over the high school program. I felt I was not ready for that level, but conceded to help out until they found someone that would take over. They never did. I had a senior that year, Chris Beckman, and I was his fourth head wrestling coach. I thought, 'Wow, this is not good for the program to have such a turnover of coaches,' and decided to be the cement for the kids.'"
During Ron Curtis' 34-year tenor, Truckee has seen nine principals, six athletic directors, three division (league) championships, five state champions, 20 runner-up finishers and 64 state championship medal winners. Check out what Curtis had to say in the following farewell:
"It's been a good ride," the coach said. "I have enjoyed the years working with the kids. It has been my pleasure to have watched many kids become state champions and then become young adults and become coaches themselves.
"One day I was reflecting on why I have done this for so many years. I guess what drove me all these years was that I did not have a father in my life and wanted to be a father to the lot of these kids. There have been many fond memories; one of those moments was watching my two older sons, Danny and James, coaching their younger brother Timothy in his semifinal match at the state championship tournament. Tim's mission that year was to drop down to a tougher weight class just to beat the toughest kid in the state from Fernley. The kid was pinning everyone he wrestled and was thumping our kids in the past. It was Tim's 'Vision Quest.' Well, Tim met this kid in the semis and won. At that moment I looked around the gym of approximately 3,000 people watching and many of the people knew about my son's 'Vision Quest' and were in tears. My two older boys were hugging each trying to hide their tears.
"It was fitting to coach my last year with one of my longtime friends and assistant coach Al Salas. Al and I starting out together; he had to stop coaching for awhile because of work, but he recently retired and came back to finish with me. It was like a story from Hollywood. I couldn't have written a better story than to have my career come to an end by coaching my last match with my youngest son in the state championship finals. It's a moment I will never forget. Many of my Truckee wrestling alumni attended the wrestling match. One of the oldest ex-wrestlers was a 46 years old. Those watching were my wife Diana, Dave Lade, who is another longtime assistant coach, and several hundred people from our community. I did my best to hold myself together and not cry. My son Tyler was carrying a lot of pressure on his shoulders during the match because of his brothers' legacy, his last match of his high school career, my last match as a coach and all the people from Truckee attending. He gave a great effort in his last match and placed second at state.
"The state tournament stopped all wrestling and gave tribute to my time, effort and energy to the sport of wrestling, to the state of Nevada and to the community of Truckee. I stood there with tears in my eyes, waved and thanked them all for the respect.
"I have never decided to coach for personal accolades or for personal glory. I coached for the kids and for my favorite sport. The sport of wrestling is a very humbling and takes a lot of hard work. I feel wrestling has taught me more than anything I have ever experienced.
"Truckee is a great community! I want to thank all the families I have had the pleasure to meet and for their beautiful support. Wrestling is about the families, the strength in which we develop with each other, in our heart, which this will last forever.
"I will miss working with the kids and the competition with the other coaches, but I feel that it is time to bid adieu to focus on my family and myself.
"I have earned my escape now! 'What goes on in wrestling, stay's in wrestling!'
"Thank you, Truckee."