If you've never met coach Wayne Terry, chances are you've met someone who's wrestled on the Mat Maulers Wrestling Club he started 40 years ago. You'll know it by the way they treat others with the utmost respect and the deep sense of pride they have in our community and country. You'll know it by their steadfast dedication to any task they take on in life. You'll know it.
"Coach Wayne is an all-around good person; it's hard to describe. He's an awe-inspiring, genuine guy to talk to and to be around. It rubs off on you," said Andrew Roberts, a former Mat Maulers wrestler.
By some accounts, coach Wayne has touched the lives of thousands of kids and parents across the region. His ability to transform kids into incredible athletes and even better humans is remarkable. Andrew Roberts, who is now a freshman at Medical Lake High School, remembers vividly this first time he met Coach Wayne.
"I was five years old. He had a loud booming voice that radiates through you. Also, very calming. He was this big guy to look up to; from there, it just took off," said Andrew.
Andrew wrestled under coach Wayne for almost a decade. The skills learned on the mat transcend into the classroom and beyond. Andrew dreams of becoming a Navy corpsman in part to the patriotic lessons coach Wayne, a veteran, infused into every practice.
"The discipline teaches you to keep composure. And just everyday life, like getting good grades, staying focused, and being respectful to mom and dad," said Andrew.
Theresa Bergquist's son wrestled with coach Wayne for almost a decade. She continues to volunteer with the club and is always impressed with Wayne's care and attention for every kid.
"He always starts every practice by saying 'if no one has told you today that you are loved, know that I love you,'" said Theresa.
For the past year or so, Andrew's mom, Jessica, has been secretly planning a big surprise for the beloved coach. With the community's help, she raised money to purchase a large bronze plaque with his photo and a summary of his legacy.
"Life is just too short. We should recognize coach Wayne while he's still alive," said Jessica Roberts.
This evening, before several friends, former athletes, kids, and parents, Jessica surprised coach Wayne at Medical Lake High School with the plaque. It will hang in the school gymnasium for generations to come. The moment was so moving it brought coach Wayne to tears.
“I had no idea. Oh my gosh, unbelievable. I told everyone tonight I'm so fortunate. Very few people get the opportunity to touch so many kids' lives. It's a huge responsibility. So beautiful to be part their lives and them part of mine," said coach Wayne Terry.
Coach Wayne's best friend, Dennis Crawford, can't think of anyone more deserving of the recognition.
"There's no one more deserving than him, and I love him so much. I just strive to be more like him. We are all better off for having coach Wayne in our lives, and the world is better off with him in it," said Dennis Crawford.