PARKERSBURG – The plaque lists Pat Sole as the recipient of the “Lifetime Service to Wrestling” award.
Yet when Sole discusses the award, a host of people are responsible for his recognition by the West Virginia State Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. If it were up to him, their names would also be engraved on the material.
“The award is a combination of wrestling at a young age through college and international wrestling to become a coach with other colleagues in the community where the culture of wrestling has been well represented,” said Sole, who attended the awards banquet in Charleston last October. “I would say, what can I do to leave your legacy behind. What I’ve done as a coach and competitor over the years, I hope, has been meaningful.
“The fight was about serving our community and our state. And being able to compete internationally was an honor and a privilege. I’m just blessed and grateful to have had the opportunity.
Sole showed interest in sports when he was 5 years old. Before graduating from Parkersburg South High School in 1978, he won two state titles and finished second once. He became a four-time National Freestyle Champion and Greco with All-American status.
His international experience as a member of the West Virginia All-Star Teams took him to Germany and South Korea. As a member of Liberty University’s wrestling program, he became an All-American after placing third at the national championships.
Sole wore a red shirt one season in order to train for the 1980 Olympics.
After winning two Regional Olympic Trials and placing in the National Trials, he was named an alternate for the US Olympic Team,
After graduating from Liberty University in 1983, Sole retired from competitive wrestling. Coaching has become his passion. He joined South’s wrestling team as an assistant.
In 2006, Sole received an offer to be the head coach of Liberty U. In his first season with six Southern graduates on his roster, the Flames won an NCAA regional championship. The next three seasons resulted in successive Eastern Region titles.
Sole returned to Mid-Ohio Valley to take over coaching duties at Ohio Valley University from 2011 to 2021. The Fighting Scots have qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championship five times .
“It was an honor to see struggling individuals and children mature and continue their lives as professionals such as teachers, lawyers and coaches,” said Sole, who gave special thanks to his wife (Vickie), sons Cody and Dustin and parents Dale and Ruth Sole. In fact, Pat Sole is retired from the oil and gas company and has moved back to the property where he grew up in Lubeck.
“When my father came back from the Korean War in the 1950s, he received this land and we kept it in the family. We have another farm in County Pleasants. I moved back to West Virginia in 2011, so stints at Liberty as a varsity coach are the only time I haven’t lived in Wood County.
At the age of 62, Sole considers himself retired from wrestling only in the sense that he does not train full time. Age has caught up with his body and he misses being in the practice room on a daily basis.
As wrestling season kicks into full gear, Sole plans to stay active in the sport and try to honor requests from area coaches to spend time at a practice or two.
“I always want to be involved – I’m happy about that”, says Sole. “I just don’t want to get into structuring and do it all myself. I like the practice room and being around the children. That’s how you get into the heart of a child. You know what they think.
Joining Sole for the Class of 2022 from the West Virginia State Chapter are Sterling P. Beane, Sr. (Lifetime Service to Wrestling); Mark Delligati (lifetime service to wrestling); Robert Pruett (Outstanding West Virginian); Arden Sansom (lifetime service to wrestling); and Bill Whittington, Jr. (Lifetime Service to Wrestling).
Former Parkersburg South coach Paul Jackson nominated Sole for the induction.
“Paul called me one day – I thought it was pretty serious so I better have a chat with him,” says Sole. “The news kind of caught me off guard.”
Contact Kerry Patrick at [email protected]