To the editor,
I complement Scott Walbeck for his thoughtful tribute to John Roberts, who passed away recently after leaving a legacy as an outstanding Antigo High School wrestling coach and teacher.
As a sportswriter for the Antigo Daily Journal who covered wrestling and football, I totally agree with Scott’s sentiment of this class man. I had a great relationship with John, and it was a pleasure discussing wrestling and football with him. His laid-back personality made conversations with him enjoyable.
I have a behind-the-scene story of John’s contributions to Antigo wrestling. He recruited Tim Brandt, one of the greatest wrestlers in Antigo history, Tim, now my good neighbor on Hogan Street, revealed his entrance into wrestling. While playing on the freshman football team, of which John was head coach, he encouraged Tim to come out for wresting. He warned Tim that he would have to compete against seniors in the heavyweight class. Tim accepted the challenge and did well against much older and heavier opponents.
That experience launched Tim’s highly successful AHS wrestling career. Tim went on to win 51 out of 60 matches during his three-year career. Although outweighed by as much as 60 pounds in the heavyweight class, he posted a 9-4record as a sophomore in 1965-66. As a junior, Tim doubles his victory output, finishing with an 18-4 record and 13 pins.
During the 1967-68 season, Tim went undefeated in his first 24 matches and pinned a school record 20 opponents. His only defeat was a 3-2 decision in his second match in the state tournament.
As noted by Scott in his article, Tim’s younger brother, Bill, was also one of Antigo’s best wrestlers in history. The two brothers combined for 104 victories and only 28 defeats and pinned 60 foes during their career.
Just a couple examples of the influence John Roberts had on these fine athletes.
And it should be noted that Tim and Bill were among Antigo’s best football players of the past. Time was a first team All-Wisconsin Valley Conference selection and Channel 7 all star on Antigo’s Valley co-championship team in 1967, and Bill was All-Valley first teamer in 1970.
With all the negative news in today’s world it is refreshing to remember John Roberts and what he did for Antigo High.