Hinkle and Mahan first inductees into Ravenswood High School Wrestling Hall of Fame

Mark Martin
Special to Jackson Newspapers

The first-ever state champion and the gentleman who guided him to that historic moment are the first inductees into the inaugural class of the new Ravenswood High School Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Veteran coach Dale Hinkle and his first of 10 state champs — Bob Mahan — are this year’s honorees.

The Hall of Fame is something new head coach John Heath, a two-time state champ at Ravenswood, formed. Heath won his titles in 1990 and 1992 under Hinkle's leadership.

A graduate of old Lewisburg High School (Greenbrier East), Hinkle attended Glenville State College and later earned his master's from Marshall University.

He came to Ravenswood High School in the ‘70s and never left. Besides teaching, Hinkle initially started as an assistant wrestling coach and head freshman football coach.

As the school’s head wrestling coach Hinkle had 94 state tournament qualifiers and 48 state placers.

He guided Ravenswood to Little Kanawha Conference titles and earned Regional Coach of the Year recognition.

He retired from wrestling in 1993.

Hinkle was honored in 2009 with the “Lifetime Service to Wrestling” award by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s West Virginia State Chapter.

Former wrestling coach Dale Hinkle (left) is a member of the first class of the new Ravenswood High School Wrestling Hall of Fame. He is pictured here being honored in 2009 by the West Virginia Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

While he stepped away from wrestling in '93, Hinkle took up coaching girls softball at Ravenswood and spent 13 seasons with the program.

In the classroom, he was named Ravenswood High School’s Teacher of the Year in 2000.

A man dedicated to the youth in the area, Hinkle also spent 14 years as president for the Jackson County Junior Fair Board.

Mahan saved his best for last by winning the Class AA-A 167-pound state championship in 1980 as a senior. It marked his first-ever trip to the state tournament and he certainly made the most of it.

Bob Mahan, Ravenswood's first state wrestling champion, is an inductee into the inaugural class of the Ravenswood High School Wrestling Hall of Fame. He won the 167-pound division of Class AA-A at the 1980 state tournament in Huntington. He was coached by fellow inductee Dale Hinkle.

Nicknamed “Big Arms,” Mahan won a thrilling 1-0 overtime decision against Dunbar’s Sam Burford for the title.

Mahan’s championship victory set the stage for others to follow.

The very next season, both Luke Schindler and Gene Morris captured state championships.

Ravenswood now has a total of 19 state champs in school history.

Mahan’s ascent to the title in 1980 started with a second period pin over Norman Richardson of Mt. Hope.

He followed that up with back-to-back decisions over Mike Bradley of University, 5-0, and Jeff Sweney of Shady Spring, 13-9, to reach the championship match.

The title win for Mahan gave him a final season mark of 32-3-0.

After graduating from Ravenswood, where he also excelled in football and baseball, Mahan attended Marshall University for one year and enjoyed success on the mats for the Thundering Herd program.

Mahan had the thrill of wrestling alongside his older brother, Jim, a 1979 Ravenswood graduate, during the 1980-81 season.

He left Marshall to embark on a career in the military.

Mahan now lives in Florida.