Laura Maddock’s two necklaces, gifts from former high school wrestlers she’s cared for over a distinguished career, are permanent fixtures. Not even her wedding ring gets that kind of treatment, she said.
Maddock, 61, from Massapequa, has volunteered as treasurer of the Nassau County Coaches Association since the 1993-94 season, she said, and has sat on the executive board for 22 years. Her roles behind the scenes — running tournaments, acting as scorekeeper, fundraiser and team mom — are just as valuable, she said.
Maddock and her husband Tom, 63, the Valley Stream North wrestling coach since 1986, are among 10 who will be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Friday in a ceremony at the Melville Marriott through The Friends of Long Island Wrestling.
The other downstate chapter honorees include Ron Abatelli, Bob Attonito, Bill Davey Jr., Jerry Harrell, Robert Hartman, Steve Meehan, Tony Melosci and William Zagarino.
“Wrestling is a life sport, it means so much to me,” Laura Maddock said, adding that she was introduced to the sport in 1969 as a scorekeeper for Farmingdale High School. She became the manager of Brockport’s wrestling team while in college and there met her future husband, then a wrestler at the school.
“It’s much more than just winning or losing. It’s an individual sport inside of a team sport. It teaches discipline, patience, endurance, respect, sportsmanship — there are so many life lessons.”
Laura Maddock added that the bonds she and her husband formed with wrestlers are lasting, and they have attended many weddings over the years.
“Having the opportunity to influence kids in a good way, that’s why you do it,” said Tom Maddock, who grew up in Franklin Square and went to Valley Stream North.
He coached wrestling at Valley Stream South from 1978-85, Floral Park from 1976-77 and was an assistant coach at Great Neck South in 1975-76.
“It’s been a terrific honor,” he said.
Abatelli, Davey, Harrell, Hartman, Meehan, Melosci and Zagarino all have local wrestling ties.
Abatelli coached Bethpage for 34 years, Davey was a longtime coach at Kings Park, Smithtown, Mt. Sinai and Glenn, and Harrell coached Hofstra, Port Jefferson and St. Anthony’s.
Hartman coached Farmingdale State, Meehan developed and operates two nationally renowned wrestling websites, has been a local tournament director and helped run wrestling at the Empire State Games.
Melosci coached at Deer Park, Lindenhurst, was an assistant for Hofstra and an international referee. Zagarino was a former high school coach and official.