Wrestling icon Weick remembered as 'father figure'
Tim Sheahan says that what he will most remember about legendary coach Bill Weick was his soft touch.
“He coached all of us the same, but knew how to handle us differently,” Sheahan told the South Cook News of his days under Weick's guidance at Mt. Carmel High School. “That’s the mark of a great motivator. For a lot of us, he was not only a coach but a father figure. He would go out of his way for everyone and was truly one of a kind.”
Weick died in his sleep on Aug. 16 at age 85.
Droves of former players convened at Curley Funeral Home in Chicago Ridge to remember Weick on Saturday as a no-nonsense guy who would go to any lengths to help one of his own.
“More than just helping, he really saved a lot of us,” Sheahan said. He said he first met Weick when he went to Mt. Carmel to wrestle for him in the eighth grade.
“He could relate to everyone,” Sheahan, who went on to wrestle at the University of Illinois, said. “We stayed in touch far past my days at Mt. Carmel. We were out golfing together just two years ago.”
In his National Wrestling Hall of Fame career, Weick won three state titles at Mt. Carmel as a coach and another at Tilden High as a wrestler.
DNA Chicago reported that he also coached 22 individual state champions at Mt. Carmel. He later became coach at rival Brother Rice High, where he helped to revive a long-dormant program.
According to the Chicago Tribune, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld came to town to shake Weick's hand when Brother Rice dedicated its new wrestling facility in 2014. The two had been friends since Rumsfeld's days as a high school wrestler at nearby New Trier High in the 1940s.
Weick also won two NCAA titles while competing at the University of Northern Iowa, and went on to coach on several U.S. Olympic wrestling teams.
“I spent a lot of time with him during my freshmen year at Mt. Carmel, and he helped shape me,” Sheahan said. “He’s being doing that forever for young guys. He was still coaching my godson in his 80s -- still getting down there on the mat and demonstrating for them.”
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