July 7, 2017 2:20 pm
Updated: July 7, 2017 2:35 pm

The end of an incredible era in wrestling

Canada's Ray Takahashi (red) competes in the freestye wrestling event at the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles. (CP PHOTO/COC/Crombie McNeil) Ray Takahashi du Canada (rouge) participe en lutte style libre aux Jeux olympiques de Los Angeles de 1984. (Photo PC/AOC)

CP Photo/Crombie McNeil

Western Mustang wrestling coach, Ray Takahashi is leaving a position he has held for 32 years.

He has decided to retire.

Takahashi hasn’t just been the head of the program for just over three decades. He has built it. The 10-time OUA Coach of the Year began coaching the men’s team in 1985 after completing a phenomenal career of his own that began at Western and then saw Takahashi enter the international stage. He was named Canadian Wrestler of the Year in 1978 and 1984 and represented Canada at the Pan-Am Games and the Commonwealth Games. Takahashi was also a three-time Olympian.

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After taking the reins at Western, Takahashi quickly grew the men’s program into one of the top programs in both the province and the country, leading the Mustangs to back-to-back OUA titles in 1990 and 1991.

A decade later, he created the women’s team and grew them into provincial champions.

In all, Takahashi coached Western to five men’s OUA championships and two women’s OUA crowns.

The 1990 men’s team ended up going all the way to a national championship. Takahashi was named CIAU coach of the year that season.

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Western’s manager of intercollegiate athletics, Chuck Mathies says, “Few have had the impact on Mustang Athletics that Ray has had as both a student-athlete and coach, and although he’s stepping away from his role as head coach he will always be part of the Mustangs family.”

Takahashi’s retirement truly ends an era, but it is one that should move smoothly into the next phase of Mustang wrestling.

Scott Proctor will take over as head coach.

He wrestled for Takahashi in the late 90s, winning national silver and bronze medals. Upon graduation, Procter received a Purple Blanket from Western, which goes to student-athletes deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to Western athletics.

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Proctor returned to the Mustang wrestling program in 2005 as an assistant coach and became Takahashi’s “right-hand man.”

Proctor believes that experience will allow him to transition seamlessly into his new role, saying “I’ve had the opportunity to be an assistant coach alongside Ray for the last 10-plus years and have learned a tremendous amount under his mentorship.”

If needed for more of that mentorship, Takahashi will not be far away.  He will continue to lecture at Western and will act as a volunteer assistant coach with both wrestling teams.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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