∙ 1/10/09 - (L-R) West
N. Matt Callahan,
Rod Stough and
chat at the post '78 alumni reunion
mixer at Mr. T's Roadhouse in Thomasville, PA.
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West York Wrestling
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
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 -
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
Dr. N. Matt Callahan,
III is the youngest of the five children of
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
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
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
Gastroenterology Associates, P.C and
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
CALLAHAN BROTHERS INTERVIEW
Webmaster, Archivist & Owner of westyorkwrestlingalumni.com
- 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?
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
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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- 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?
My fifth grade teacher,
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
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.
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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- Was there an aspect of the sport that you hated... and, conversely,
what aspect of the sport was great?
Losing weight was without a doubt the biggest negative...
especially when I was in ninth grade trying to make weight at 88lbs.!
best aspect of the sport was the camaraderie. I enjoyed
practice more than any other aspect of the sport.
about wrestling are great.
I actually think the tough practices were a
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
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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- 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?
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 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.
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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- 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.
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.
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.
WY Junior High Invitational Champions @ - WYAHS
Dave Sileo (Northern), 80lbs. - Tom Murray (Northern),
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
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.
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
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- 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?
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
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
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
Wrestling played a big part in that.
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- 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?
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,
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
for Conestoga Valley of District III. Uyeda went on to wrestle at
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
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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- 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?
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.
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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- 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
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...!!
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
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
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- After a brilliant West York athletic career, Scott went on to
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
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
note: A. Scott Callahan
NCAA All-American Wrestler
at Ursinus College.
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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- 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?
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.
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
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- Fred & Matt, thank you both for celebrating your lives through the
sport of wrestling and sharing your memories with the alumni and fans.
Thanks Don. Keep up the great work.
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
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.
Ursinus College Graduates
- The Callahan Family!
Barrie & Fred Callahan
Colony Papers. Inc.
1776 Colony Drive
York, PA 17408
Fred Callahan, President
Dr. N. Matt Callahan, III,
Gastroenterology Associates, P.C.
Dr. N. Matt Callahan, III - Paoli Hospital
Wife - Susan and
sons... Mattock & Harrison.
The Callahan's live in
N. Matt Callahan -
The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
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∙ Lieutenant Matt Callahan,
OCS, US Marines
A. SCOTT CALLAHAN
(click on the plaque
for the A. Scott Callahan Page)
∙ plaque photo by Kevin Drawbaugh of
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Holiday Individual Champions (4)
(L-R) Neil Bupp, Don Lehman,
The Late A. Scott
Callahan Bio Page
Scott Callahan was a
Sectional Wrestling Champion, a
Holiday Tourney Champ, a
West York Wrestling Captain and a
'77 NCAA All-American Wrestler at Ursinus College.
also an outstanding football player at West York High School.
The Late Norman M.