ERNEST R. CLOSSER, JR.
2002 – WRESTLING – POSTHUMOUS
Ernest R. Closser, Jr. attended Waynesburg Central High School in 1940 and 1941. During this time he was a member of the Wrestling Team under Coach Ace Wiley. He was WPIAL champion in 1941.
After graduating from high school, he attended Waynesburg College and wrestled for one year. His career was interrupted when he enlisted in the Navy and saw military action in the South Pacific during World War II. From the Battle of Leyte Gulf, he was appointed to Officer’s Candidate School at Pennsylvania State University.
At Penn State University, he resumed his career by wrestling for three years under Coach Charlie Speidel. He was captain of the team in 1949, his senior year.
In 1953, he obtained his Master’s Degree from West Virginia University in Vocational Agriculture Education. After graduating, he became a teacher at his alma mater, Waynesburg Central High School and assumed the responsibilities of assistant wrestling coach under Frank Bonifield and Dave Clelland until 1959. In 1960, Coach Closser became the head coach for the high school wrestling team and remained in that position until 1972.
Under his coaching, Waynesburg High School celebrated six consecutive undefeated season. Also, Waynesburg had fourteen WPIAL champions and the team won the WPIAL team championship five times. Further, Waynesburg produced four state champions including Terry Wilson, Bob Shriver, Mickey Boudreau, and Bill Brunofsky. Overall Coach Closser’s record stands at 137 matches won and 35 matches lost.
Coach Closser died in 1976 leaving his wife, Sarah, four sons-Doug, Jay, Ernest III, and Arleigh and three daughters-Marlys, Dianne, and Sally. In 1977, Coach Closser was inducted into the Western Chapter Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.