Class of 2012
Sam Wasserstrom was born in Chicago where he started his wrestling career at Lane Technical High School. Sam attended Lane from 1968 to 1972. Wrestling for Sam Bronswick, he was a four time letterman and had a record of 97-17. In 1971 he qualified for the state wrestling tournament. In 1972 he was their team captain. After graduating from Lane Tech Sam attended Mayfair Junior College where he wrestled and played baseball. He wrestled for Ralph Lonergan where he was their captain and MVP. He also was 4th and 2nd in the Region IV wrestling tournament, thus qualifying for the Junior College Nationals. In 1974 he transferred to the Northern Illinois University where he wrestled one year for IWCOA Hall of Fame Coach and National Hall of Fame and Museum-Illinois Chapter Lifetime Service winner Donald Flavin. His college record was 47-11. Sam loved to compete in wrestling and came back to place third at the Mayor Daley Greco Open in 1978. A motorcycle accident in 1979 prevented him from further competition.
Sam’s coaching career started at his alma mater in 1976, where he was an assistant coach there for 4 years; helping to send 9 wrestlers to the state tournament. In 1981 he became an assistant coach at Fenwick where he helped to start their first year program. The following year he took the Head Coaching job at Ridgewood High School where he taught and coached a variety of sports for 29 years. He served as the Head Coach from 1982 to 2008. His teams won 349 dual meets, winning 2 conference championships and 2 regional championships. In 1992 Ridgewood qualified for the State Dual Meet Tournament. Sam had 24 wrestlers that qualified for the State Wrestling Tournament. Three of these wrestlers placed and he had one State Champion. To date this was Ridgewood’s first and only State Champion in any sport! He also had two wrestlers that became All-American’s while wrestling in college.
Sam helped out at Freestyle and Greco Roman Wrestling tournaments working at tables, coaching and officiating. Thirteen times he had wrestlers that qualified to represent Illinois in the USA Junior Nationals at Fargo. He has also been a volunteer assistant coach at Lane from 2008 to 2011.
Sam also was an IHSA official in baseball, softball and wrestling. He served as President of the Ridgewood Teachers Union for 17 years, during this time he sat on the Executive Board of Local 1274.