May 7, 2011 in Sports

Ex-Cheney coach dies

Indorf led wrestling program for 25 years
By The Spokesman-Review

Wrestling’s Sam Indorf, who guided Cheney to some of its greatest successes, died at age 69 Tuesday under home hospice care, four months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

The funeral service for the 1994 Washington State Coaches Association Hall of Famer will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at Hamblen Presbyterian Church, 4102 S. Crestline St.

“Sam was an excellent wrestling coach, master of running programs and while I was there already had the program going,” former Cheney athletic director Joe Richer said. “What I noticed is he always got the right kids out and was extremely competitive, even against (state power) Moses Lake.”

Longtime wrestling assistant and friend Rich Rust said Indorf was a good teacher of wrestling and had good rapport with kids.

“Both of us got the most out of kids who maybe didn’t have lot of talent,” Rust said.

Indorf was among a coterie of coaches who made wrestling a major sport in the Inland Northwest beginning in the late 1960s. He coached Cheney for 25 years and by the time he retired in 1992 (and then started a small business with wife Judy in Kennewick), had compiled a 232-116-2 dual-match record with 13 Frontier League championships and five regional winners.

The Blackhawks placed in the top four at the State AA (now 3A) tournament six times. He also directed the State AA tournament at Eastern Washington University for eight years and was instrumental in helping create Mat Classic, winning at the first event in Tacoma in 1989.

According to Aaron Mason, his second individual state champion (the others were Roger Goodwin, 106 pounds, in 1969, and Kyle Hildenbrand, 190, in his final season, 1992), Indorf started a cultural overseas exchange program here for athletes in several sports.

Mason won state at 135 pounds in 1983 and teaches at his alma mater where he followed Indorf as wrestling coach for 10 years and assists in various sports.

“He was the reason I was a state champion,” said Mason, who said he came from a broken home and Indorf served as his father as well as coach. “He would do anything to make you a better wrestler and an even better man. He was always teaching values and morals. I have the utmost respect for him.

“He used the right words to get the most out of a kid. He knew who to light a fire under and who to pamper or coddle.”

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