Coach Pirch 'Made Champions Of Us All'

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I heard recently that coach Dennis Pirch was considering hanging up the whistle, but I still can't believe it's true. I enjoyed very much the article about his career and its span of 28 years.

I was fortunate enough to have gotten recruited into his wrestling program back in the late '70s. I had played basketball my first two years, though not very well, and decided to not return to go out for the varsity team my junior year. Every day coach Pirch would come and ask me what size shoes I needed. That was his recruiting line: "Hey, what size shoes do you need?"

Wrestling was not overwhelmingly popular yet, but once in the program, we all saw what was being built. Being part of a rich tradition like this wrestling program makes us all feel proud, but like many others, I must tell you, coach Pirch would take any and all into his program. He made winners out of losers and champions of us all. He made us all feel like we contributed.

I remember him talking other coaches into getting some of their wrestlers to wrestle two and sometimes three matches in a night, just to give guys on our squad a chance to have a match.

He cared about us inside and outside of the classroom. When he asked, "How ya doin'?" you knew he really wanted to know how you were.

I salute you Coach Pirch, and also thank your wonderful wife for sharing you with us for as long as she has. I still run into people from Payson High School every once in a while, and your name almost always comes up. You have touched many more lives than you could ever imagine. Thank you.

Dave Banbury, Payson High class of '78

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