West York Wrestling

 

www.westyorkwrestlingalumni.com

A Featured Lehman Interview

Charlie's 60's | Alumni | Records | Hall of Fame | History | Win-Loss

"Q&A" with
West
York Wrestling's
Fred
Callahan/Dr. Matt Callahan
"celebrating life through the sport of wrestling!"


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The 1965-66 West York Varsity Wrestling Team
▪ Front Row (L-R)  Fred Schenck, Jeff Linebaugh, Tom Hoover,
Dave Carley,
*Fred Callahan, Steve Smith.
Back (L-R) Steve Kunkle, Ed Spangler, Glen Eby, Don Narber,
Fred Lehman, Ron Emenheiser.
 


∙ 1/10/09 - (L-R) West York's *Dr. N. Matt Callahan, Rod Stough and Randy Blasdell...
chat at the post '78 alumni reunion mixer at Mr. T's Roadhouse in Thomasville, PA.

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THE CALLAHAN BROTHERS BIOS...

  West York Wrestling Alumni
... Fred Callahan '66 and Dr. N. Matt Callahan '79, are part of an outstanding wrestling family.  The CALLAHAN name is well known in the athletic halls of West York High School, as well as Ursinus College!  Fred Callahan, who is President of
Colony Papers in York, PA - recollects an early elementary match while in 6th grade.  Fred was matched against a 3rd grader - who he just barely beat by a couple of hard earned points!  That 3rd grader turned out to be the best wrestler to ever come out of West York - Billy Luckenbaugh, and was one of "Billy the Kid's" few losses in his career!  Fred Callahan graduated from West York and was a letter-winner in 1966.  Fred Callahan, an Ursinus College graduate and his wife Barrie, also an Ursinus College graduate, live in Dover, PA.

  Dr. N. Matt Callahan, III is the youngest of the five children of Norman and Frances (Pat) Callahan of Shiloh, PA.  Fred, Matt and their late brother Scott - were all West York Wrestlers!  Matt lived down the street from Rod Stough, and both went to Shiloh Elementary School along with Randy Blasdell.  Matt was a year younger than Rod and Randy... and while participating in the West York Elementary Wrestling Program, remembers selling Maple Donuts to help raise money for the WY Wrestling Booster Club.  Matt and Fred's sister, Becky, was a "Mat Maid" for the Bulldog Wrestling Team at that time.  Matt states that while in Junior High and Senior High, he was a contemporary of Don Botterbusch, the Gay's (Barry, Larry & Tike), Clyde Poe, John and Alan Silar, Scott Luckenbaugh, Marty Szala... and many others!  Matt's summer "painting job" partner was Bruce Stambaugh, and their boss was longtime West York Junior High Wrestling coach - Whedon Myers.

∙ Matt loved wrestling, but his main sport was RUNNING!  Matt Callahan was a proud athlete on the 1978 PIAA State Championship Cross Country Team at West York High School!!

  Matt followed his family history of attending Ursinus College and graduated with a degree in biology... and, with a commission as a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. (in 1983).  After completing his active duty in 1986, Matt worked at Colony Papers, married his college sweetheart, Susan, and started medical school in '87 at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.  Ten years later, after four years of school, an internship, three years of residency, and two years of gastroenterology fellowship... he started a private practice.  While on that long path, Matt and Susan have had two boys (Norman Mattock Callahan, IV and Harrison Bettcher Callahan), owned four houses, and finally settled in Berwyn, PA.  Matt is a partner at Main Line Health Gastroenterology Associates, P.C and Paoli Hospital.

  Though Matt was never a varsity wrestler like brothers Fred and Scott at West York, he was on the team for five of six years... benefitting in his life from that great mat experience.  Matt remembers persevering through tough practices on frozen mats at the Martin Elementary gym... with not one person complaining.  In short, Matt learned that hard work had rewards, even when not starting on the varsity team.  "Glory comes not from never having fallen, but rising again after you fall."  Matt still compares experiences he has today, both athletically and professionally, to things he experienced in WRESTLING... and he is grateful for the entire experience!  Matt lists heroes like coaches Whedon Myers and John T. Toggas, wrestlers John Sprenkle, Bill Luckenbaugh, Mike Stambaugh and others... that were part of his life growing up in Shiloh, PA.  I consider myself a part of that remembrance, as I spent many great days and nights with my close friend, the late A. Scott Callahan.

  I asked Fred and Matt for an interview per the alumni... and they both graciously accepted.

 
Don Lehman

THE CALLAHAN BROTHERS INTERVIEW
by:
Don Lehman
Don Lehman
Webmaster, Archivist & Owner of westyorkwrestlingalumni.com


DL - Fred and Matt... I can remember back in the early seventies coming over to your house in Shiloh to visit Scott (and Mark Jenkins), and your father Norman answering the door!!  What an imposing figure, but... an extremely nice gentleman (to me anyway!).  I know the late Norman M. Callahan, Jr. graduated and played football at Ursinus College.  What did learn from your father with regard to sports and life?
FC -
Donnie,  I’m not sure I can answer that in such a limited space.  Everyone’s Dad is special to them, and our Dad certainly had a John Wayne "air" about him.  I only came to realize later in life how life altering World War II was to not only the fathers, but also the mothers of that generation.  Perseverance certainly was at, or near, the top of the list.  Norman M. "Cal" Callahan, Jr. Bio
MC
-
I have to give both my parents credit for what I learned in respect to "sports and life."  Frankly, most of what they taught was unspoken, and as the youngest of five kids, I also learned a tremendous amount from my older siblings… Mike, Fred, Scott and Becky.  I believe the first priority was always academic success.  We could get away with all sorts of stuff, but we had to get reasonably good grades.  My Dad was the first in his family to get a college degree (Ursinus College) and that was a huge achievement in his day.  That was the one thing he pretty much promised to provide to us at any cost... so, we were all expected to take advantage of it - and we did.  By the time I came on the scene, participation in sports was just part of the drill.  Participation in an active life was second nature for us, at home, and in our neighborhood.  I don’t ever recall thinking twice about signing up for Cross Country, Track, or Wrestling.  It was just what we did.  How else would you get a West York Varsity Club Jacket?
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DL - When did the both of you get involved in the sport of wrestling at West York, and why did you take up this extremely tough sport?
FC -
My fifth grade teacher, George Sterner, principal at Shiloh Elementary, introduced all of the boys in the two-fifth grade classes to wrestling, and started a team, "The Shiloh Headlockers."  He got the High School to donate some old mats and we’d practice after school in street clothes.  He continued it when we were in sixth grade.  At the time ('58 or '59) the junior high had no team, and even the senior high didn’t have a JV event before the varsity matches.  During the course of the wrestling season we started giving exhibition matches before the WYHS varsity home matches wearing girls blue tights with jockey underwear over them!  Incidentally, at one point during my senior year I believe, four or five of the starting varsity team came from that program.
MC -
I started wrestling in elementary school, probably in the 5th grade.  I don’t recall the exact reason why, but I am certain it had to do with the fact that Scott was such a success at it.  I remember going to the wrestling matches with my Mom (I don’t remember ever going with my Dad… he said his heart couldn’t stand the excitement!) and experiencing the incredible excitement generated at the matches.  Why wouldn’t you want to be part of that?
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DL - Was there an aspect of the sport that you hated... and, conversely, what aspect of the sport was great?
FC -
Losing weight was without a doubt the biggest negative... especially when I was in ninth grade trying to make weight at 88lbs.!  Ha!  The best aspect of the sport was the camaraderie.  I enjoyed practice more than any other aspect of the sport.
MC -
Many things about wrestling are great.  I actually think the tough practices were a high point… you earned respect just by doing them, and the conditioning drills were fantastic.  We were proud of our conditioning, and believed we were the "best conditioned team in the county."  I liked the one-on-one aspect of the sport.  It was just you and the other guy.  I always admired the guys who were good because they had to "walk the walk", not just "talk the talk."  There was no hiding out on the mat.  Now, what I hated the most is very simple...  "sucking weight", and even more so now knowing what I know as a parent and a physician.  Taking young men at such a crucial time in their growth and development and allowing them to starve themselves for 3 months is just not a good thing.  My Mom nick-named Scott "Mr. Obnoxious" during this time because of what it did (losing weight) to his personality.
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DL - Can you remember an athlete at West York that when the team did "live" match wrestling in the back gym practice room - you absolutely didn't want to wrestle?  Why?
FC -
This might seem kind of strange but the kid I absolutely hated to work out with when I was starting at 127lbs. was our 103 pounder, Jeff Linebaugh.  Jeff was a very good wrestler and very "scrappy" and it always felt like more of a street fight than a wrestling match.  It always seemed like a fight, and the both of us would end up with a mouse over an eye, a bloody nose, or a torn finger nail... in practice.  His Dad (Donald) was a tremendous fan from junior high through high school.  Sadly, they’re both gone now.  Jeff died several years ago I believe from problems related to diabetes.
MC
-
Don Botterbusch was my perennial foe, but I never "didn’t" want to wrestle him… even though he usually beat me.  Barry and Larry Gay, as I recall, were really tough in the room.
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DL - West York Wrestling past coaches - Dr. Ken Ober, Bob Brown, John T. Toggas, Whedon Myers, Bob Bowers, John Sprenkle ... to name a few from your days.  Please list a couple things you learned from these gentlemen as it applies to your very successful lives.
FC -
Bob Brown was the West York senior high coach when I was in seventh grade,  but West York’s high school and junior high were all in one building at the time.  We would practice in the same room, at the same time, but apart.  Ken Ober was the assistant senior high coach, but also our coach and was charged with getting a junior high program off the ground.  Coach Ober had a great attitude and absolutely loved the sport!  He could be pretty intense, but had a good sense of humor too.  I think Coach Brown and Coach Ober both recognized that a strong HS program needed a strong junior high program.  In 1960 there were few if any junior high programs in York County.  We’d wrestle a lot of Lancaster schools... Columbia, Solanco, Donegal, Manheim Central - and usually get creamed!  Brown and Ober teamed up and wrote (and published) a hardbound wrestling book during this period designed for coaches.  The West York senior high team was quite a power at this time.  One of the finest wrestlers ever to come out of York County, Glenn Amsbaugh, (now a doctor) - wrestled for West York at the time.  He was allowed to wrestle with the varsity starting in ninth grade since there was no junior high program, and if memory serves me... had never lost a dual meet in the county in four years.  He went on to wrestle at Lehigh and I believe was their captain.  Doug Baublitz also wrestled for Coach Brown at that time and of course came back to teach at West York for many years.  After Coach Brown left - Dr. Ken Ober took over the senior high for a year or two prior to taking over the wrestling reins at Elizabethtown College, where he stayed until his death from Leukemia many years later.  I believe he is in the Division III Wrestling Hall of Fame.  The last time I saw him was when Scotty wrestled one of his Elizabethtown College kids during the MAC wrestling elimination tournament leading to nationals.   Scotty had just beaten the kid and Ken was visibly disappointed, but gracious.  I can remember he said to me, "your brother just beat a very good wrestler!"

Coach John T. Toggas came to West York in '64-'65 and inherited a very strong program and to his everlasting credit - improved it.  I think he bonded with his wrestlers a little better perhaps.  The thing that amazes me about John is that he transitioned through about three different generations of kids, and yet could still relate to them, and he had the two indispensable qualities that, I think, all great coaches have - a sense of purpose coupled with a sense of humor.   That’s a pretty good thing to learn.

1963 WY Junior High Invitational Champions @ - WYAHS
  72lbs. - Dave Sileo (Northern), 80lbs. - Tom Murray (Northern),
  88lbs. -
Fred Callahan (West York), 95lbs. - Tom Hoover (West York),
103lbs. - David Carley (West York), 112lbs. - Ron Harlacker (Dover),
120lbs. - Robert Myers (Northern), 127lbs. - Jack Hershberger (West York),
133lbs. - Jay Bollinger (Dover), 138lbs. - Tim Bubb (Dover),
145lbs. - Vernon Vandervender (Northern), 154lbs. -Jim Rider (Dover),

165lbs. - Richard Hartman (Eastern).  WYJH Tourney Director - D. Kenneth Ober.

MC -
Coaches John T. Toggas, Whedon Myers, and John Sprenkle were not just coaches, but LEADERS… and they had a way of making you want to not only please them, but to do anything for them.  Seriously, that is the way it was, and maybe I was just that kind of a kid.  More important then learning to lead, we learned how to FOLLOW.  I can’t stress that enough.  So many people today have no idea what it is just to shut up and do what you are told to do.  Learning how to follow made us better leaders when we were eventually given the opportunity.
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DL - Everyone had a "buddy or two" they hung out with... sharing life's agonies and triumphs with each other in the wrestling room.  Who were your wrestling buddies back in the day and do you still keep in touch with any of your former West York mat teammates?
FC -
Well certainly your brother Fred Lehman was one... when he wasn’t tied up with some girl, which was most of the time!  The others were Ed Spangler (now deceased), our captain Tom Hoover, but most of all... Dave Carley, who I started with in Shiloh and still see regularly to this day.  The 1965-66 West York Varsity Wrestling Team.
MC -
I have known Rod Stough and Randy Blasdell (as well as Greg Allen and Scott Miller) for so long, it is hard to remember a time when I didn’t know them.  I see Randy fairly often, but not enough, and keep in touch with Rod loosely.  About a year ago, Randy and I flew down to Nashville, TN to see Rod, meeting him there along with another old friend, Greg Allen.  We spent three days partying in and around Nashville, TN.  It was great having that time together... laughing about old and new stories.  It sounds like a cliché, but these guys really are more like brothers than friends.  Wrestling played a big part in that.
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DL - Can you name one memory from wrestling that you still think of, whether it be a great win or a miserable loss - and, what would you do differently if you had to do it all over again?
FC -
Two memories stand out.  In sixth grade we were wrestling at the high school in some kind of an afternoon tournament.  I was wrestling a very scrappy kid, who was my size from West York (remember, I wrestled for Shiloh).  At any rate I eked out a close win, 2-0 or 3-0, and afterwards I was sitting on a chair eating an orange.  George Sterner, our coach, comes over to me and said, "Fred, you know that kid you just wrestled is only in third grade!"  Well, that was pretty deflating!  I made a point of remembering his name... you probably remember him,  Billy Luckenbaugh.  HA!  Probably the last time he lost at West York.  The other match I remember was my senior year when we scrimmaged Conestoga Valley, and I wrestled a kid, and I believe his name was Allen Uyeda.  He really impressed me, but I held my own against him and at least I didn’t embarrass myself.  He came up to me afterwards and said he had recently had the flu and hoped we could wrestle again at some time when he was feeling better.   Uyeda ended up winning the PIAA State Championship at 127lbs. in 1966 for Conestoga Valley of District III.  Uyeda went on to wrestle at Princeton.
MC
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You know, I was never a varsity wrestler, so I didn’t have the same sort experience as most of the guys who are interviewed for this site.  However, I can definitely answer this question.  I was on the JV team my junior year when Coach John Sprenkle came to me the afternoon before the Dallastown match asking me to drop a weight class so he could put his best line-up on the mat.  I spent several hours that night in Sam Toggas' sauna so I could drop nine pounds to make weight.  I did it!  I remember chugging Welch’s Grape Juice after weigh-in, but it didn’t help!  I was so strung out, I think I got pinned in the first period.  My good friend, Brian Frey, was in the stands and had just told someone else that I was so flexible, I could never be pinned!  Fortunately, the varsity won that night and ultimately the county championship.  What would I do differently?  If I knew then what I know now, I would have started lifting weights in high school and gone to wrestling camp over the summer.  I would have invested more in wrestling, but I still would have been a long-distance runner.  After all, we (West York) were PIAA Cross Country State Champions my senior year, and I certainly would not change that!
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DL - I received a phone call some years back from your sister Becky Callahan Gosnell, along with your father.  There was laughter in the background, as Becky and your father were with some family members reminiscing about Scott and the sport of wrestling.  The question had something to do with a name or instance, I can't remember, but it was a joyous moment remembering the "good 'ole days" from West York and a great person - A. Scott Callahan.  Coach John T. Toggas and I, whether it be on a Thursday when he visits me... or, a golfing day in the summer, (along with Mrs. Mary Jane Toggas) always talk about Scott and how much we miss him.  If you could put together a sentence or two that sums up your memories of Scott as a foreword to a book, what would it be?
FC -
There are just too many stories. We had a great time together, particularly after we both had graduated from college and were working together at Colony Papers.  He had a great sense of humor and we always found, no matter the situation, a way to laugh.  Over 25 years later - I still miss him.
MC
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Scott Callahan loved life and knew how to have fun in a way unlike anyone else I have ever known.  Scott had tremendous self-confidence and was a "guy’s guy."  His death at the age of 29 from leukemia tore a terrible hole in our lives and we can only imagine the fantastic adventures and laughs we would have had if he had survived.
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DL - I don't think I have ever met or have known someone that matches Scott's enthusiasm for life and sports, as well as a person that "lights" up a room when entering.  Scott did that and more.  From his love of Harley-Davidsons... to regularly getting some friends together in the "Spring House" to play cards and share football/wrestling stories, and, as Scott would say, "making memories!"  You both had to be proud when the West York HS Weight-Lifting Room was dedicated to Scott.  Do you still follow West York sports, and specifically wrestling?
FC -
Frankly I don’t.  I will when I know the parent of a student athlete, but at 61, none of my friends have kids in school any more.  Most of them don’t even have grandkids in school any more!
note: To Fred - Gary Narber has three grandkids in the West York Wrestling program...!!

MC
-
Unfortunately, I have been unable to keep up with York County sports, specifically wrestling, but have gotten updates periodically from different sources.  Prior to his death, my Dad would fill me in on things about West York and Ursinus when we visited.  This is one of the many things I miss about him (my Dad) now.  Lately, I have enjoyed periodically checking out your website, Don, and am amazed at the variety of information on the site.  Of course, Randy Blasdell also fills me in on the status of West York Sports, too.
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DL - After a brilliant West York athletic career, Scott went on to Lehigh University (1-1) to wrestle before transferring to Ursinus College, where he wrestled and played football.  I recently asked Ursinus College Wrestling Coach, Bill Racich, to send me a scanned copy of Scott's 1974 NCAA All-American certificate so that I can post on the alumni website.  Coach Racich is graciously sending me a copy... and, adds that he too is very proud of Scott's memory at Ursinus.  How proud was your dad as well as your family when Scott placed 6th at the 1977 NCAA DIII tourney for Ursinus College, achieving All-American status?
FC -
I went to the national tournament in SUNY-Binghamton with my wife, Barrie.  In the semifinals... Scott lost a close decision to the previous year’s winner , and then in the consolation match - knocked himself out, literally, while pancaking his opponent.  He was ahead on points at the time, but was disqualified as a result.  I recently met a teammate of his at Ursinus who worked out with Scott.  It brought back some very fond memories. He said, "I wrestled with Scott.  Well, Scott wrestled, but it was like having a major leaguer on a minor league team."
note: A. Scott Callahan is a '77 NCAA All-American Wrestler at Ursinus College.

MC -
My Mom (Pat) is visiting with us this week and she says, "We were very, very excited, traveling to the NCAA tournament at SUNY-Binghamton, NY in March of 1977."  She remembers that Scott hit his head in that tournament (I think he did it on a takedown) and I believe that injury had something to do with why he did not place higher in that '77 NCAA DIII wrestling tournament.  You know, my Dad’s collection of Scott’s trophies, medals and photos is still in the "rec room" as he left it.  I don’t know if any of it would be useful to you, but you are welcome to check it out.
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DL - You both were part of some very special days at West York.  What do you think is the biggest difference between today's athletes... and the athletes from your days?
FC -
The biggest difference I think is that kids are almost forced to pick one sport to focus on.   I understand there are some benefits and I understand some of the reasons it has evolved this way, not just for wrestling... but for other sports as well.  But overall, I think it is a negative.
MC
-
Well, I guess all parents today say this, but one big difference is the level of parental involvement in our kids' athletic careers.  This has many, many ramifications... not all good, but not all bad, either.  Athletes today have a lot more rules to follow and less room for making mistakes.  They have to dedicate themselves to a specific sport early on, or risk not making the cut later on.  However, they also have greater access to improved training methods, including camps and clinics.
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DL - Fred & Matt, thank you both for celebrating your lives through the sport of wrestling and sharing your memories with the alumni and fans.
FC -
Thanks Don.  Keep up the great work.
MC
-
Thanks for facilitating this trip down Memory Lane!  By the way, Don... my Mom says "hello!"  She is 88 and doing well.




An Old York Dispatch Photo
* - 2nd Annual Gettysburg College Wrestling School...
w/West York Wrestling's Fred Callahan and others. (click on below link)
* "Wrestlers from West York, York High, and Central High" - PDF
* submitted by York Judge, Stephen P. Linebaugh


Ursinus College Graduates - The Callahan Family!


Barrie & Fred Callahan '66


Colony Papers. Inc.
1776 Colony Drive
York, PA 17408
website
Fred Callahan, President





Dr. N. Matt Callahan, III, D.O.
Main Line Gastroenterology Associates, P.C. website
Dr. N. Matt Callahan, III - Paoli Hospital

Wife - Susan and sons... Mattock & Harrison.
∙ The Callahan's live in Berwyn, PA


N. Matt Callahan - graduate of...
The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
site
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∙ Lieutenant Matt Callahan, OCS, US Marines '83 - '86

A. SCOTT CALLAHAN MEMORIAL PLAQUE
(click on the plaque for the A. Scott Callahan Page)

∙ plaque photo by Kevin Drawbaugh of JK Images
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1971 Easton Holiday Individual Champions (4)

(L-R) Neil Bupp, Don Lehman,
Scott Callahan, Mike Stambaugh.
The Late A. Scott Callahan Bio Page
Scott Callahan was a '72 YCIAA Sectional Wrestling Champion, a '71 Easton Holiday Tourney Champ, a '71-'72 West York Wrestling Captain and a '77 NCAA All-American Wrestler at Ursinus College.
Scott was also an outstanding football player at West York High School.







The Late Norman M. "Cal" Callahan, Jr. Bio
 



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