Waukon High School graduate Bill Plein to be inducted into IHSAA Wrestling Hall of Fame

Bill Plein ... Photo courtesy of John Lovretta of The Hawk Eye Newspaper, Burlington.

The Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) will be welcoming seven inductees into its Wrestling Hall of Fame during this year’s State Wrestling Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. The Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019 will include two coaches and five wrestlers inducted Saturday, February 16 during the high school wrestling season’s grand finale.

Among the two coaches being inducted is Waukon High School 1976 graduate Bill Plein. The son of the late Frank and Helen Plein of Waukon, Plein was a former Northeast Iowa Conference wrestling champion and multi-year State Tournament qualifier for the Indians before continuing his wrestling career at Central College in Pella, where he alternated two years each winning Central’s Most Valuable Wrestler Award with his younger brother, Tom Plein, from 1977-1981 and where he still holds the school record for most points scored in a single tournament (23) and also once held the school record for quickest pin (23 seconds) for more than three decades.

Taking his mat expertise to the coaching ranks, Plein was behind more than 400 dual team victories over 28 seasons at Columbus Community before retiring at the end of last season. Columbus Junction won two state tournament titles and three state dual team championships under Plein’s guidance. The Wildcats won the Class 1A team title in 1995 and stepped up to take Class 2A in 1997 under Plein’s leadership. His Columbus squads finished with a 404-88-1 dual team record, making him the 13th coach in state history to top the 400-win mark. Columbus Community featured 10 individual state champions and nearly 50 placewinners during Plein’s run. He has since taken the coaching reins at Notre Dame-West Burlington/Danville for the first time during this current 2018-2019 season, reviving a wrestling program that had been discontinued by West Burlington.

In addition to his nearly three decades of coaching high school wrestling, Bill Plein has also taught and served as Activities Director at various high schools, including currently assuming the role of Activities Director at Notre Dame High School in Burlington. He has also furthered his love of wrestling by serving as both a coach and an official for Team Iowa and USA Wrestling.

Plein will be joined by fellow Iowa high school wrestling coach Mark Bertsch of Mason City in being honored for Hall of Fame induction this year. Those two coaches will be further joined by five outstanding former Iowa high school wrestlers, including Trent Goodale of Osage, Mark Rial of Fort Dodge, Jimmy Rodgers of Riverside/Oakland, Merle Roths of New Hampton and Josh Watts of Davenport Assumption.

Since 1971, the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association (IWCOA) and the IHSAA have honored coaches and athletes with induction into the Wrestling Hall of Fame on the final night of the Traditional State Tournament.

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