Champions of Montgomery County: The Welliever Era

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Dan Welliever was next in line with a 12-year career that would lead him to a record of 123-65-2 for a winning percentage of .654. Danny began his wrestling career in “the pit” in the basement of the Crawfordsville High School gymnasium. He qualified for the State in 1956. After his four year career in baseball and wrestling at CHS, he moved on the Indiana Central College where he also wrestled for four years and played baseball in the spring. He was an NAIA All-American in wrestling at ICC in 1959 and 1961. 

Welliever’s highest finish in the state meet was sixth in 1983. Welliever also coached a state champion when Doug Haslam was the class of the 126-pound division in 1985. Haslam holds many of the wrestling records at CHS as he finished with a record of 111 wins and only seven losses with one tie. He holds the records for most wins in a season with 32 and holds the county and school record for pins in a career. 

Welliever coached a state runner-up when Mike Hodges posted a 28-2 record and was second in the State in 1983. Mike’s son wrestled at Southmont High School for Jamie Welliever and compete at State. Nate Hodges finished seventh in the State in 2006 and Nick finished fifth in the State in 2008 and again in 2009. 

Welliever ended his coaching career in 1991 as he guided his wrestlers to a best ever record of 16-1. That team had the best winning percentage of any Athenian wrestling team

ending with a .941 pct. He then became the latest Crawfordsville wrestling coach to be elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991. 

Welliever was the first of the Wrestling Wellievers to appear on the stage. He was pronounced by the Athenian basketball coach as too small for basketball and encouraged to go to the wrestling team. Basketball’s loss was wrestling’s gain. Danny started a legacy that would see him and his two brothers Bill and John wrestle for CHS. Bill placed 4th in the State in 1957 and John placed 3rd in the State in 1959, 3rd in 1960, and 4th in 1961. The second generation went to the consolidations of North Montgomery

and Southmont. Danny’s youngest son Jamie went to Southmont and finished 3rd in the State in 1981. 

The second generation at North Montgomery consisted of Yancie and Brett, Bill’s sons and Jonathon, John’s son. And then, believe it or not, there was a third generation, Jamie’s daughter, Rachel and son Boone wrestle at Southmont. Youngest son, Ty, is a Southmont Junior High 8th-grader waiting in the wings to make his mark as a Wrestling Welliever.  The third generation at North Montgomery appeared when John’s grandsons, Charlie and John Abram (Akers) hit the mats.  John’s daughter, Janan, had married Charlie Akers, who, by the way, also wrestled at North.  

Is it any wonder that the Welliever family was inducted into the Indiana High School Wresting Hall of Fame in 1992?

Next week, we will finish Crawfordsville wrestling with the Chris Ervin era and then move north to the John Welliever era at North Montgomery. After that, Journal Review sports writer Jared McMurry will write about the 24-year run of J.D. Minch at North Montgomery and finish up with the present coach, Maurice Swain. 

 

Bill Boone is a local sports historian who contributes his column to the Journal Review.

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