Class of 2013
Growing up in the Leyden school district, Pape first earned his wrestling “bones” under the guidance of the notable Conrad family and the Franklin Park Raiders. With his wrestling foundation grounded in the Leyden tradition, Pape transitioned to the high school program – coached by the legendary IWCOA Hall of Famer Charlie Farina. Pape earned two Varsity letters and capped off his high school career as a state qualifier and a 34-7 record. Upon his graduation in 1990, Pape enrolled in the University of Illinois where he had planned to continue his wrestling career. He suffered a career ending injury his sophomore year.
Following his graduation from Illinois, Pape returned to his home area and assumed the task of pumping new life into the Franklin Park Raider Wrestling Club. Pape would go on to run his former wrestling club for nine seasons – a period which witnessed a growth in club membership.
Pape would take a break from coaching an IKWF club to start a family and return to school to complete his MBA at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He came back to the sport five years ago, coaching his sons, Jackson and Alec, with the Jr Cougars Wrestling Club of Hoffman Estates.
While going about the journeyman-like task of growing his equipment and apparel business, WrestlingGear.com, he has also extending himself to the wrestling community. His personal experiences as a wrestler, coupled with many years coaching with the Raiders and Jr. Cougars, instilled within him a realization of the values of the sport. Consequently, Pape has seen fit to extend a “helping hand” to the wrestling community.
Some of those activities include hosting a golf outing benefiting The Smile Train and Illinois Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, assisting the IWCOA in joining the computer age with email newsletters, a website, computerized voting and more, securing donations of merchandise to outfit dual teams, and of course taking photos, literally thousands of them.
His mat side presence at the Leyden Sectional, the IHSA State Finals, Olympic Team Trials, USA Nationals, and the Midlands may go unnoticed by the casual spectator; however the camera carrying wrestling enthusiast has worked quietly behind the scenes for many years to highlight his favorite sport.