Class of 2014
Prospect High School
Gary McMorrow began his 50 years of wrestling involvement in Illinois in 1964 as a wrestler under the guidance of IWCOA Hall of Fame coaches Dick Mudge and Tom Porter. At Prospect, McMorrow was a three year varsity letter winner, a two time sectional qualifier, a three time all-conference selection, and team captain his senior year. Upon completion of his senior season in 1968, Tom Porter was named the first head coach of the new John Hersey High School. At that time, Porter told McMorrow to pursue a degree in education and continue to wrestle, as Porter would like to have McMorrow as an assistant coach in the future.
In the fall of 1968, McMorrow enrolled at Western Illinois University to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology/Anthropology and teacher certification. At Western, he wrestled for four years and received two varsity letters, while maintaining a resident assistant position for three years. He graduated in the spring of 1972 and earned a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling in 1976 from Western, completing most of his courses during summer school sessions.
Shortly after his college graduation and only a few weeks prior to the start of the 1972-1973 school year, McMorrow received a call from Tom Porter. Porter stated that he had recommended McMorrow for a recently opened cooperative education teaching and assistant wrestling position at Hersey. McMorrow applied and was hired by High School District 214 as a Cooperative Work Training (C.W.T.) teacher/coordinator and assistant wrestling coach at Hersey. McMorrow spent 11 successful seasons at Hersey, as the sophomore coach for Tom Porter his first year and then as the freshman coach for 10 years for IWCOA Hall of Famer Rick Mann.
In 1983, McMorrow became the head coach at his alma mater, Prospect High School. While at Prospect, he spent the first nine years as a guidance counselor and the last 16 years back in the C.W.T. classroom. In May 1994, he was named an “Outstanding Contributor to Education” by High School District 214 for the 1993-1994 school year. McMorrow retired from teaching in 2008 and remained as head coach through the 2009 season.
While at Prospect, McMorrow had 204 dual meet wins. His teams won the Mid-Suburban League-East Division title in 2007 and the overall Conference Championship in 2005 and 2007. For both of those years, McMorrow was named the MSL-East Division Coach of the Year. His 1992 team wrestled in the dual team Regional Final and his 2007 team won the school’s first and only regional title. McMorrow had 16 state qualifiers, seven state placers, and two trips to the Grand March. In 2009, Matt Boggess won the 140 pound-3A State Championship to become McMorrow and Prospect’s first State Wrestling Champ. It also was McMorrow’s last match as a head coach and a great way to end his varsity coaching career. In 2011, Prospect’s 54 year old varsity invitational, The Dick Mudge Memorial, was renamed the Mudge-McMorrow Invitational, in appreciation for his 34 years of involvement in the meet as both a wrestler and coach. Since 2010 McMorrow has been a freshman coach at Prospect and has had five successful frosh seasons.
McMorrow has made other contributions to wrestling in Illinois. For the past 31 seasons, he has calligraphied the entire individual and dual team member All-State Certificates presented by the IWCOA at its annual April All-State Banquet. For his efforts he was twice named a “Friend of Wrestling” by the IWCOA. For several years, McMorrow also calligraphied award bracket boards for the Arlington Cardinals annual “Massacre” kids tournament. When his own boys were in grade school, McMorrow helped develop intramural wrestling programs at the elementary school in District 96 and was a three-year volunteer coach at the junior high school in District 23.
McMorrow resides in Arlington Heights with Pamela, his supportive wife of 38 years, and has four adult children: Tiffany, Joseph, Jeffrey, and Courtney. Besides continuing to assist Prospect Wrestling, he continues to substitute regularly at Prospect and is known to everyone as “G-Mac”. He also works full-time seasonally for Billy Casper Golf, Inc., as the grounds supervisor at the Harry Semrow Driving Range and Miniature Golf in Des Plaines. He enjoys going to flea markets in his search for Coca-Cola memorabilia and collectables and presently is most eagerly awaiting the arrival of his first grandchild due in June.