By MARIO RENTERIA
10:53 PM AKST, December 3, 2012
BRAWLEY — Bob Bormuth was the first head wrestling coach at Brawley Union High in 1963.
He had wrestled at the University of Wyoming and came to Brawley to head the new wrestling program at Brawley.
He was taking a risk, not knowing if the program would have any support, let alone athletes.
Then athletic director and head football coach Bob Farrell had the football team show up to a meeting after the football season was over.
“He told me that Farrell lined up all the football players and asked how many were playing basketball,” Keith Smith Sr. said about his recent conversation with Bormuth. “Those that raised their hand, he let them go to practice, the rest that stayed were put on the wrestling team.”
That was the official start of the Brawley wrestling program that since has wielded 14 CIF championships in the San Diego and Southern sections combined.
On Wednesday, when the Brawley wrestling program opens Imperial Valley League action against Holtville High in Brawley, the school will honor its pioneers that helped found the program.
That includes Bormuth, Dr. Ted Niewenhous, Frank Gifford and Victor Calderon.
Each had their own contribution to the program which won its first CIF title in 1969, when Smith was a senior.
Smith is coordinating the 50 year anniversary celebration before Brawley’s match. The match is set to start at 7 p.m. so the celebration will be a few minutes before.
Smith is encouraging anyone who has wrestled at the school in the past to join the celebration.
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