Former Payson High School wrestling coach and teacher Dave LaMotte has been inducted into his alma mater's athletic hall of fame.
In ceremonies held Sept. 25 on the campus of West Liberty State College in West Virginia, LaMotte became a member of the 24th class to be inducted into Hilltopper Hall of Fame.
Last summer, LaMotte resigned his social studies teaching position to accept a coaching and teaching job with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
In addition to teaching at PHS, LaMotte served a stint as a wrestling assistant coach to Dennis Pirch. Following Pirch's resignation in 2001, LaMotte took over the reins of the fabled program and continued its tradition of being one of the finest small town mat programs in the western states.
During his tenure at PHS, LaMotte coached some of the Longhorns finest wrestlers including R.C. LaHaye, George Coleman, Caleb Miller, Zack Lee and Larry Wilbanks.
LaHaye, now a senior, team captain and All-American at Western State College in Gunnison, Colo., credits much of his success to LaMotte.
"He is a great technician and a real good motivator," LaHaye said. "He made we want to become a better wrestler.
In 2003, LaMotte led the Longhorns to a state third place finish.
Prior to arriving in Payson, LaMotte was a Class 5A Coach of the Year at Gilbert High School.
LaMotte enrolled at West Liberty State College in 1972 after wrapping up an award winning prep career at Bridgeport High School. During his three years on the Bridgeport varsity, he compiled a 59-5 record that included a fifth place finish in the prestigious Ohio State Wrestling Tournament.
His freshman season at WLSC was cut short by a severe knee injury.
During rehabilitation, he put his college career on hold to join the military. In 1976 he was discharged and returned to West Liberty to rejoin the wrestling team.
During the next three seasons, he strung together a wrestling career that is among the best-ever at Western Liberty. His career record of 103-14-2, as well as many other marks he set, stood for many years. In 1978 as a junior, he finished fifth at the NAIA National Championships. The following season he achieved the pinnacle of mat success winning the 150-pound NAIA National Championship.
After graduating from WLSC in 1979, he accepted a teaching and coaching position at Bridgeport High School. From 1980 to 1989 he coached several of his wrestlers to individual state championships. In 1988, his Bridgeport team won the Ohio state championship.
LaMotte's two sons, Matt and Jeff, also attended West Liberty where they both earned NCAA All-American honors.
LaMotte took pride that both his sons were coached at WLSC by the same man who coached him -- Vince Monseau.
Jeff attended Payson High School where he was a state champion and an Arizona Coaches Association All-Star.
LaMotte and his wife Vicki now live in Gold Canyon.