Park Profiles: “Be Fair-Be Firm-Be Consistent-Be Humorous”

Park Profiles: Be Fair-Be Firm-Be Consistent-Be Humorous

Lily Brinker, Sports Editor

Wrestling forces you to be disciplined and self-reliant, for English teacher Bill Welker, wrestling gave him the foundation to set up a successful, yet strict teaching career. 

Dr. Bill Welker took his first steps into his teaching career in 1969. He worked in the intercity schools of Pittsburgh, PA. During the only year Dr. Welker spent there, he learned how to be an “actor” in his class and run a tight ship. Welker grew up in Shamokin, PA, with his parents and one brother, Floyd. He grew up in a “Leave it to Beaver” family. Bill’s father taught him about life, while his mother taught him about God. Dr. Welker’s grandfather and mother were teachers and he aspired to follow in their footsteps. 

“Wrestling has been in my blood since third grade,” he had been coached by plenty of great coaches and witnessed some of the best wrestling officials in Pennsylvania. Bill became a PA State Wrestling Champion in 1963, and then two years later he became the PA State Wrestling Runner-up. The endless hours on the mat, and vigorous diets earned Dr. Bill Welker a wrestling scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh. He spent his freshman year on the varsity squad, he was a place winner in the Naval Academy Freshman Tournament. 

During his Sophomore year he made the crucial decision to quit, “First, I was tired of losing weight to wrestle. Second, and most importantly, I switched priorities to my academics”. He wasn’t completely free from work, during the summer months he worked for a Pittsburgh Steel Company, which paid for his college expenses. During the school year, he was a Pitt lifeguard and worked in the Pitt Recreational Program at Trees Hall. Dr. Welker never felt the love for wrestling leave him, “I wanted to share my skills with my teams, and watch them mature as good wrestlers and future productive citizens, with positive moral values.”

 First, he started coaching at Wheeling High from 1970 to 1972. Then, when Wheeling Park was consolidated, Dr. Welker was a wrestling coach from 1976 to 1980. He was the head wrestling coach from 1979 to 1980. Wrestling wasn’t the only thing he took knowledge in, he also coached football and track at Warwood Junior High School. 

Dr. Bill Welker accomplished many things throughout his wrestling, coaching, and teaching career; “2009 Teacher of the Year” (Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce), “2014 Jasper N. Deahl Award” from West Virginia University for accomplishments as a reading educator, “1979 National Runner-Up Coach of the Year Award” (Scholastic Wrestling News), “2008 Master of Wrestling Award” (Wrestling USA Magazine). Welker was also inducted into multiple halls of fame; 1990 PA Sports Hall of Fame, 2000 PA District Four Wrestling Hall of Fame, 2008 National Wrestling Hall of Fame, 2010 PA State Wrestling Hall of Fame, 2021 OVAC Hall of Fame. 

Now, Dr. Bill Welker spends his days sitting in high school bleachers, with a contagious smile, watching his grandkids play their first sport. Live life like Dr. Welker’s motto, “Be Fair – Be Firm – Be Consistent – Be Humorous.”