Several longtime NCUSA volunteers were among the wrestling greats selected to the NC Chapter of the National Hall of Fame Sunday in Chapel Hill.
Among the inductees were Arlene and R.L. Lail. R.L. and Arlene have dedicated their lives to scholastic, freestyle, and Greco-Roman wrestling for over 40 years. R.L. started wrestling in 1967 as a member of the first wrestling team at Hickory High School where he was team captain and a state qualifier. R.L. was recruited to play football at Mars Hill College, where he met Arlene. Arlene and R.L. married in 1971. In 1973, R.L. started a wrestling program at Pisgah Elementary before returning to Hickory in 1974. At Hickory R.L. coached both the Junior High and High School teams until moving to South Carolina in 1975. At this time, R.L. started a wrestling team at Bennettsville and both Arlene and R.L. would become active in USA Wrestling. R.L. would serve as the South Carolina State Chairman and take the first South Carolina National team to the nationals in Iowa City. From Bennettsville, the Lail family moved to Charleston where R.L. coached football and was the head wrestling coach at John’s Island High School from 1978 to 1982. While at St. John’s, R.L. coached 5 state champions and 11 state place-winners. In 1984, they moved to Asheville where they continued working with USA Wrestling. In 1985, R.L. started a program at Hayesville High School. In 1986, to be closer to family, the Lail’s returned to Hickory in 1986 where R.L. helped created the Catawba Rasslin Club. Both R.L. and Arlene joined the USWOA in 1989. Together they have worked a total of 5 international and Olympic events, 142 national level events, 88 regional events, and hundreds of state events. R.L. and Arlene have both reached the highest ranking of pairers in the country, earning the rank of P1 Extraordinaire. Currently they are the only 2 people in North Carolina who hold this ranking. Additionally, R.L. is a Bronze certified coach through USA Wrestling. From 1992-1993, R.L. would serve as state chairman for NC USA Wrestling while Arlene was the state’s pairings director. In 1993, R.L. led a youth team from North Carolina to compete and train with clubs in St. Petersburg Russia. In 2013, the Lails retired after 38 years in public education as teachers, coaches, and administrators. However, they have passed on their service to wrestling to their daughters Shannon and Robyn (both pairers) and their son Robbie, who is a volunteer coach in Tennessee.
Longtime Club Leader and Coach Norm Osteen was also inducted Sunday. Osteen first wrestled in 1980 while serving in the United States Air Force and competed in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling in open tournaments until 1989. He was a middle school coach for 8 seasons at Flat Rock Middle, Rugby Junior High, Edneyville, and Apple Valley Middle. During that period his teams won 5 conference championships. Osteen also coached high school teams for 5 seasons at Edneyville, North Henderson, and East Henderson. At North Henderson his team was the dual team runner-up and the state tournament champions in 1994. Osteen also coached at Gardner-Webb University and coached a club team at Wofford. In 1989, Osteen founded the Strong and Courageous wrestling club in Hendersonville. For the past 28 years, Osteen’s club has not only developed champion wrestlers, but also served as a sports ministry. As Osteen has directed Strong and Courageous, he has been heavily involved with both NC USA Wrestling and USA Wrestling. Coach Osteen has traveled internationally, attended the Olympic Games, and served as the Greco-Roman delegate to Puerto Rico for 9 years. Osteen was named USA Kids-Cadet Person of the Year in 1995 and the Fila Jr / University Person of the Year in 2001. Osteen has also been designated as the Southeast Regional Person-of-the Year. To date, Osteen has coached several national champions and over 50 All-Americans at various national competitions. Even more impressive are the 41 All-Americans Osteen has coached at the Asics / Vaughan Cadet / Junior Nationals held in Fargo, North Dakota.
Other inductees included Greg Hardin, Wayne Barker, and Gordan Patrick. Rep. Robert Brawley of Moorseville was also honored an "Outstanding American" member of the Hall of Fame.