Former Olympic wrestler, coach Pat Lovell dies at 81

Time took its toll on Pat Lovell’s physique, turning the previous soccer lineman and Olympic heavyweight wrestler right into a shadow of his former self. However his charming, light-hearted character remained bigger than life till the top.

Lovell, 81, who spent almost three-quarters of his life contributing to highschool athletics, died Thursday after battling a myriad of well being points.

Ailing well being pressured the previous longtime instructor, coach and sports activities official to retire as commissioner of the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League final yr after almost three many years at the helm.

“I saw it coming and I didn’t believe it,” Lovell advised the Sentinel of his well being points in Might.

A date for his memorial hasn’t but been set. He’s survived by his spouse of 51 years, Pleasure; son, Bobby; and two daughters, Sarah and Allison, the latter of whom is a swim coach at Soquel.

Phrase of his passing unfold shortly all through the higher Bay Space.

“He knew everybody and everybody knew him,” stated Duane Morgan, commissioner of the Central Coast Part and a former wrestling official with Lovell. “He knew how to connect with people and keep everything light. He was one of those people you don’t want to forget. He was a mentor to a lot of people, too, not just in Santa Cruz County, but Santa Clara County. He impacted quite a few lives.”
Cal Poly wrestler Pat Lovell, the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate heavyweight title in 1958 and ’60, additionally performed soccer for the Mustangs and was roommates with John Madden. (Cal Poly Athletics — Contributed) 

A former three-sport standout at Sequoia Excessive in Redwood Metropolis and a two-sport star at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo — he was inducted into each faculties’ Corridor of Fame — the ex-lineman and wrestler all the time had the athletes’ greatest pursuits at coronary heart, those that knew him stated.

Even after he retired as SCCAL commissioner, he met together with his successor, Bob Kittle, a dozen occasions to assist ease the transition and supply perception.

“The guy was a giver till the end,” Kittle stated. “But his sense of humor is what stands out. He was the best. He had some great stories.”

Kittle particularly recalled tales Lovell would inform him involving Lovell’s school roommate John Madden, a future Professional Soccer Corridor of Famer.

Along with overseeing SCCAL Board of Supervisor conferences and representing the league at CCS conferences, Lovell had a laundry record of duties as commissioner. Amongst his duties: fundraising for the league, creating league schedules for almost all of its sports activities and serving as a liaison with native officiating organizations for a mess of sports activities.

Lovell all the time fought to maintain the SCCAL in fine condition. Most of the league’s jamborees and postseason tournaments served as fundraisers. He and his spouse and daughter Allison typically labored the gates at the annual soccer jamboree at Cabrillo School.

Lovell liked supporting highschool athletics. In any case, he was a child at coronary heart.

“He never grew up,” Morgan stated. “He saw happiness in everything. He loved the kids. What a great life that is.”

At Cal Poly, Lovell was a four-year wrestler and earned the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate heavyweight title in 1958 and ’60. He performed three years of soccer, competing at proper deal with, and was linemates with Madden, the left deal with.

“We were two big guys in a small room,” Madden stated. “To live with me, one guy had to be special. I was a mess.”

They did every thing collectively in school and once they didn’t, Lovell would all the time be there in a pinch.  “We were more like brothers,” Madden stated. “I’d borrow cars and forget where I put them. And we have to go and find them.”

Madden stated he was Lovell’s largest fan, He was impressed by his year-round dedication to being a two-sport athlete.

Lovell used his wrestling expertise to his benefit on the soccer subject.

“He has a lot of finesse,” stated Lynn Dyche, Lovell’s wrestling teammate at Cal Poly and a former highschool wrestling coach and referee within the Bay Space. “He didn’t try to outmuscle opponents. He used his arms real well and was a very effective tackle. And if he wanted to be mean, he could be mean.”

Lovell remained shut buddies with Madden. He was Madden’s greatest man at his wedding ceremony in 1959 and traveled within the well-known John Madden Cruiser — Madden hates to fly — when Madden was inducted into the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in 2006.

Madden, regardless of hanging out together with his good friend month-to-month in recent times, knew Lovell was unwell, however was shocked when he heard the information Friday morning from a university good friend.

“Dammit, you’re still not ready for this,” Madden stated. “You always wish you had a chance to say goodbye, a last chance. I wish I had one more chance. There was no goodbye. Just being with Pat made the difference in life when you were there.”

Lovell was simply distinguishable on the wrestling mat. He was the one one on his staff who wore black leather-based, calf-high footwear, like a boxer. He additionally typically had his hand raised in victory.
Pat Lovell’s Cal Poly soccer teammates confirmed up en masse for his Mustangs wrestle-off matches at Crandall Gymnasium. Lovell went on to compete for the U.S. within the Olympics. (Cal Poly Athletics – Contributed) 

He had the complete help of his soccer teammates when he competed in wrestle-offs on the highest flooring of San Luis Obispo’s Crandall Gymnasium, which wasn’t giant sufficient to suit an official wrestling mat. His soccer teammates lined the stairwell resulting in the wrestling room and handed alongside highlights — like, “he got a takedown” — so these out of view might maintain updated, Dyche stated. Lovell was an enormous deal.

He positioned in 13 nationwide freestyle and Greco-Roman championships and was a member of the Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling workforce in 1964.

Dyche, already a instructor, helped get Lovell his first educating job in San Jose. He referred to as James Lick principal George Home, who was in want of a wrestling coach.

When Home requested of Lovell’s expertise, Dyche responded, “Well, he just got out of the Olympics. … He was pretty much hired sight unseen. And that’s where he met his wife, Joy.”

Pleasure, who labored in Lick’s workplace, was on her strategy to lunch and Lovell was working parking zone obligation once they first met.

After some temporary dialogue, Lovell provided Pleasure to take his automotive to lunch. She wasn’t impressed with the automotive he was standing close to. “No, that car,” he stated, pointing to his 1964 Mustang within the distance.

“I loved cars, too,” she stated. “The Mustang did it.”

Two years later, they have been within the parking zone once more. She was planning to take a mini trip, Thursday via Sunday.

“Why don’t you take Monday and Tuesday off, too?” Lovell stated. “We can go to Las Vegas and get married.”

That was Lovell’s proposal. She accepted.

“I had to buy my own wedding ring,” Pleasure stated. “He was too busy coaching football or something.”

“He was a fantastic person,” Pleasure stated. “Fifty-one fantastic years. He was a great father, funny. Everyone just loved him.”

Lovell coached future NFLers Jim Plunkett and Daniel Lloyd on Lick’s wrestling mat.

Lovell later coached at Monta Vista in Cupertino and Cabrillo School, a window that spanned 24 years. Along with wrestling, he coached soccer and softball.

He was a soccer referee for 35 years and a wrestling official for 45 years, working 17 NCAA and 17 U.S. Nationwide Championships.

He was USA Wrestling’s Official of the Yr in 1974 and ’75, a 2000 inductee into the California Wrestling Corridor of Fame and a 2018 inductee into Cabrillo’s Corridor of Fame.

Lovell’s identify may also ceaselessly be hooked up to the county’s heralded wrestling event. Previously the Coast Basic and later the California Coast Basic, the occasion, hosted by Aptos, was named the Pat Lovell Vacation Wrestling Basic final yr.

  • Pat and his grandchildren Brinley and Bricen Smith. (Contributed)

  • Pat’s youngsters: Sarah, Bob and Allison. (Contributed)

  • Pat and Pleasure’s wedding ceremony image, Las Vegas 1967. (Contributed)

  • Pat Lovell. (Contributed)

  • Pleasure and Pat celebrating their 50th wedding ceremony anniversary, June 2017. (Contributed)

  • Pat, Sarah and Allison. (Contributed)

  • Pat and Pleasure, 2012. (Contributed)

  • Pat and son Bob Ross in Texas. (Contributed)

  • Sarah and Allison, someday within the 1980s at the seashore. (Contributed)

  • Pleasure and Pat once they named the Coast Basic Wrestling Event to the Pat Lovell Vacation Basic, 2016. (Contributed)

  • Bailey Ross and Justin Ross, Pat’s grandchildren, in Texas 2011. (Contributed)

  • Pleasure, Pat, Allison and Sarah, Cabrillo School Corridor of Fame Induction, 2018. (Contributed)

  • Pat Lovell accompanied John Madden on the “Madden Cruiser” to the NFL Corridor of Fame for Madden’s induction ceremony in 2006. (Dan Coyro — Santa Cruz Sentinel, file)

  • Pat Lovell was John Madden’s teammate and roommate at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. (Contributed photograph)

  • Pat Lovell is known as Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League commissioner in September 1989. Lovell, 81, who spent almost three-quarters of his life contributing to highschool athletics, died Thursday after battling a myriad of well being points. (Dan Coyro — Santa Cruz Sentinel file)

  • Cal Poly wrestler Pat Lovell, the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate heavyweight title in 1958 and ’60, additionally performed soccer for the Mustangs and was roommates with John Madden. (Cal Poly Athletics – Contributed)

  • Pat Lovell’s Cal Poly soccer teammates confirmed up en masse for his Mustangs wrestle-off matches at Crandall Gymnasium. Lovell went on to compete for the U.S. within the Olympics. (Cal Poly Athletics – Contributed)

  • Pat Lovell, who launched coach Gene Johnson, offered a little bit of levity at the inaugural induction ceremony for the Cabrillo School Corridor of Fame on Saturday night time. (Invoice Lovejoy – Particular to the Sentinel)

Lovell was a personality whereas officiating wrestling matches. Typically, he’d moon-walk to the middle of the mat. He and Dyche additionally minimize up spare zebra-striped officiating shirts into little squares and gave them to overly outspoken coaches after a match, calling them “honorary officials.”

Lovell and his antics have been in excessive demand. A number of school coaches within the space typically requested him for his or her tournaments.

“The reason he could get away with that stuff,” Morgan stated, “was because he was such a great official.”

Morgan remembers sitting with Lovell close to the sting of the mat at one of many space’s bigger highschool tournaments. The spectators have been going bonkers.

“Watch this,” stated Lovell, nudging Morgan. “Nobody is paying attention.”

Lovell acquired up and began leaping, yelling and screaming at the highest of his lungs. Or as Morgan put it, “shrieking.”
Pat Lovell, who launched coach Gene Johnson, offered a little bit of levity at the inaugural induction ceremony for the Cabrillo School Corridor of Fame in 2016. (Invoice Lovejoy – Particular to the Sentinel) 

Lovell was proper. No one paid consideration. So he received up and did it once more.

“I was like, ‘What, are you crazy?’” Morgan recalled.

No, he was simply darn good at making individuals smile. “He was a comedian. He really was,” Dyche stated. “He always had us in stitches.” And over his lifetime, individuals took discover. Not only for the jokes, for every little thing.

“I don’t think there’s enough thank yous out there that we can give him for what he’s done,” Reggie Roberts, Aptos’ former wrestling coach, informed the Sentinel in Might. “We’re talking about an entire lifetime of giving to others. He’s given up his life to help others learn about life through sports.”

Stated Dyche: “I love the man. It’s tough to realize he’s gone. I’ll miss him.”

The Lovell File

  • Pat Lovell honorsSequoia Excessive Sports activities Corridor of Fame, 1958USA Wrestling Official of the Yr in 1974 and ’75Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Athletic Corridor of Fame, 1989U.S. Wrestling Corridor of Fame (official), 1995California Wrestling Corridor of Fame, 2000San Mateo County Sports activities Corridor of Fame, 2005Central Coast Part Distinguished Service Award, 2016Cabrillo School Corridor of Fame, 2018

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