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maligned

Tom Clark: the passing of a legendary man

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I can't believe there's nothing on The Mat, but we lost a legendary figure in international wrestling and wrestling in general today with the passing of Tom Clark. Tom was an Olympic official and many-time world championships official who also worked countless high school matches for many years first in Ohio and then for the last 20 years in Indiana. He was still active at the highest levels domestically, including working the Olympic Trials in 2016. He mentored dozens of young officials over the years and captivated anyone that would listen with his storytelling, wit, and kindness. His concern for people and genuine desire to connect them made him a natural ambassador for the sport and an ambassador for connecting to people through wrestling across language and cultural barriers. He will be missed. Peace to his family and to anyone who knew him well.

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Oh my. I just had a long conversation with him during Big10s last weekend. He got a good chuckle about being able to relax as a spectators for once and not having to man the whistle for the Big10 coaches. He was always a great guy to talk to, asking about how my schools program was going, sharing stories about his own travels, and genuinely wanting to know about how things were going with life. I'm not sure there is another ref I looked forward to speaking with during HS or USA competitions more than Tom. He will really be missed.

Edited by MadMardigain

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Stunned. RIP, my friend, Tom Clark. I don’t know how many nights we spent in my parents’ pub doing what we enjoyed most, BSing about life, which basically meant wrestling. We wrestled in the Toledo Rogers freestyle open together and crossed paths all the time at the Oiler Pub, my parents’ bar. When I got the head coaching job at The University of Findlay, Tom was one of my go-to refs, a fair, by the book guy who would head over for a cold one (or two or three or eight or nine) at the pub afterward. I remember one dual Tom reffed when one of my guys went into overtime and scored a takedown to the back—he stopped the bout at the takedown but should have let him go for the fall. He came right over before the next weight and said, “I f*cked up.” What more could you ask of a ref? I said, “If this costs us the dual, you owe me several beers, a$$hole.” And that was it. As it should be. So many more stories I could tell. My heart breaks for his son Hayden, who was obviously his world. Tom, you did the sport right. You were honest, damn funny, and there was never any question your heart was always in the right place. Rest easy. Say hello to my mother and father, who is no doubt at this minute giving you sh!t, calling you the worst ref he’s ever seen, and serving you up a cold one that he won’t stop filling.

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