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Webber Lawson

Webber Lawson Pictures

FHS Wrestling

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Dedication to the Call

Jan 27, 1959.jpg

California Wrestling Hall of Fame

     Webber was inducted into the California Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2001. The information below is from the California Wrestling Hall of Fame's website.

     Webber wrestled varsity his freshman year for Bristow High School in Oklahoma and wrestled three years varsity for Inglewood High School in California, where he was also a student wrestling coach from 1946-48. His teams were undefeated in dual meets for three years. Web wrestled for Cal Poly SLO and the LA Athletic Club where he won the 1948 U.S. Western Regional Olympic Trials and was voted as the Outstanding Wrestler. In addition, he was a three-time Far Western Champion, won the Senior Open AAU Championships, won 6 SPAAU titles, and won the U.S. Western Pan Am Title. He officiated and coached for 25 years in three different C.I.F. sections, most notably at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale where his teams won 52 straight dual matches and won 4 Central Coast Section titles in a row, and a Northern California Invitational Team Championship. He also served one year as President of the National High School Wrestling association.

San Jose Mercury News Excerpt

     The local wrestling community lost one of its founding members when Webber Lawson died in November at the age of 80. He had retired in Colfax.

     Lawson coached at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale from 1964-1979, leading the Indians (later the school would change the mascot to the Firebirds) to the first three CCS titles from 1966-1968. His Firebirds team also won a NorCal Invitational tournament title. He later coached at Homestead, where he retired from teaching in 1988.
     The Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo alum teamed with Lynn Dyche and Jim Root to establish the CIF state wrestling tournament in 1973. A member of the Calfornia Wrestling Hall of Fame, Lawson was a standout himself. In 1948, he won the Western Region Olympic trials and was a three time Far Western champ. Even in his days coaching in high school, he was the toughest wrestler in the practice room, said Root, the former West Valley community college head coach.
     "He was always tough on his wrestlers, but they loved him for it," Root said. "He helped get the state wrestling tournament going; it was really neat to have a dream like that and end up living it. Webber was a great coach, a great man and a real character; he loved to talk and tell his stories."


Jim Root on Webber Lawson and the beginnings of the State Tournament

Webber came from Briston H.S. in Oklahoma where he was a varsity wresler in 1945.  He moved to Inglewood H.S. in 1946.  He placed 3rd twice in the Southern Cal C.I.F.

Webber was one of only five high school boys to make the Final Olympic Trials in Iowa in 1948.

He was also famous for a long string of pins during his high school days.

I met Webber when I started at Cal Poly in 1959.  He was one of the 'old guys' finishing up his degree.  He was not sure about coaching because he wanted to go back to Inglewood to a tool die job.  I think Donny was just a baby at the time.

Sheldon Harden, CP wrestling coach, talked Webber into going to Tulare Western, a new school that year.

I started teaching coaching in the Campbell District in 1963.  I coached at Blackford (Asst. Coach) the first year and went to Westmont (new school)for the next eight years.  I then went to West Valley for the next 30 years.

Lynn Dyche was a Hayward H.S. grad as was I and we were at Cal Poly the same time.  He was two years ahead of me and he also started coaching at Andrew Hill in 1963 after he went into the Army.

Webber came up to Fremont in 1966.  He really hit the road running with a good group of athletes - Brendt Larry Noon, Allen Dunn, Steve Wilhelm, Bob Garcia, Tom Morrison and Bill(?) Harrigan.

Our Westmont Tournament was a big thing in the SC Valley those days as there were not as many schools and it was always a tough tournament.  Fremont won the event for three or more years.  Webber really peaked his team so he could gauge how his team would do in the Nor Cal Tournament.

Ted Locicero, Webber's assistant at Homestead, always said Webber was the toughest guy in the workout room.

The rumor at Fermont was similar, but Brendt Noon should verify that fact.

We always had a great time when we competed with each other's teams and Pat Lovell's, another 'Poly Rat'.

It was fun after wrestling to get together.  Webber would brag about how good his kids were until we reminded him that his wrestler lost to one of our wrestlers.  He really changed his tune quickly after that.

We could always slow Webber down by reminding him that we new him very well.
One of Webber's classics was the Poly Rat Tournament at Fremont.  Every coach was a Cal Poly grad.  The most important thing was the coach award for the last place team.  We all pushed our guys real hard that day to win.

We were also interested in the Nor Cal Tournament and ran the event.  As coaches we always dreamed about a full State Tournament some day.

In 1972 we went to southern Cal to meet with the C.I.F. administrators about starting a State Tournament.  They questioned us about how to run a tournament.  Our proposal was approved on a 'trial' basis.  We were so happy that we could hardly believe it at our lunch break.

Lynn was the Tournament Director for the first three events.  I had to stay away because I was now a collage coach and they did not want me because I might be recruiting the high school kids.

Webber gave me a complament one time when he told me that he prepared his Fremont boys by telling them that wrestling a Westmont kid was the same as wrestling another Fremont wrestler.

Webber, Lynn and Gus Talbot of Lynbrook also interviewed for the job at West Valley College.  After I was hired, the athletic director told me that Webber talked more about me and that they should hire me.

Webber was a great wrestler, coach and friend.  He was very supportive of the sport like the rest of us.  He was truly a man of character and he was also a real charater.

We were all lucky to have known him and we will miss him.