Hepfer, 55, announces retirement

He coached wrestling for 29 years at Arundel

June 12, 1999|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Buddy Hepfer, whose name is synonymous with high school wrestling in Maryland, announced his retirement from coaching and teaching at Arundel High yesterday.

The 55-year-old Hepfer, a native of Grampion, Pa., who made Gambrills his home, was inducted into the Maryland State Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1996 and will be enshrined in the Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame this fall.

Hepfer coached wrestling teams for the last 29 years, compiling a career record of 280-90-5 with three state championships, and coached 11 individual state champions.

Faculty members were informed by Hepfer yesterday afternoon that he was retiring after 32 years in the Anne Arundel County school system as a physical education instructor.

"I always felt that Buddy was one of the best teachers I've known," said Bernie Walter, Arundel athletic director and department chairman.

"And he was a super wrestling coach. It's a huge loss to everybody in the wrestling community. He devised the standard framework for county tournaments. Buddy will not be easily replaced."

Hepfer's 1996-97 wrestling squad was 18-0, won the Class 3A-4A state dual-meet championship and was ranked No. 2 in The Sun's final poll.

That Wildcats team had just four seniors and only four returning state qualifiers as Hepfer, Metro Coach of the Year in 1993-94, turned in one of his finest coaching jobs and was named The Sun's Anne Arundel County Coach of the Year. The following season, his Wildcats won the Class 3A-4A state tournament championship, were 14-2 overall and ranked fifth.

His final team was a state dual-meet runner-up this past winter, 16-2 overall and ranked third in The Sun's final poll.

In his early years, he was known more for his success coaching another sport.

"Some people don't realize that Buddy was also a great football coach," said Walter.

Hepfer was an assistant to the late Jerry Mears on the Arundel team that won the county's first of three state titles in 1975. Succeeding Mears as head coach in 1977 after Mears moved onto Meade, Hepfer coached the Wildcats for 15 seasons, retiring after the 1991 season with a career record of 94-61 (.606).

Pub Date: 6/12/99

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