Former area coach Gerald Winnard earns spot in National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Beau Bearden
The Daily Ardmoreite
Gerald Winnard, top, works a move in a match during his career at Oklahoma State University. Winnard will be inducted into the  Oklahoma Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame on Oct. 10.

Gerald Winnard is well-known for his successful wrestling career at Oklahoma State, but that doesn’t tell his entire story.

The former Cowboy went on to coach at Ardmore, Plainview and Davis high schools, and that dedication didn’t go unnoticed as he’ll soon receive the Lifetime Service to Wrestling award from the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

“It’s kind of a tribute to all the people I’ve been around,” Winnard said. “My coaches that coached me, the kids that I coached and the education that I got from (Oklahoma State). It’s not all about me.”

It doesn’t take long to see that humility, and Winnard even admits that he’s a laid-back guy and isn’t one to brag about himself. Instead, he shifts the focus to the individuals he’s helped along the way.

Gerald Winnard is shown in 2021. The longtime wrestling coach will be honored Oct. 21 when he receives the Lifetime Service to Wrestling award from the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

A number of those are wrestlers, but his impact extends beyond the mat as he's also impacted others with jail ministry.

“I got an unexpected call from one of the inmates who did what I asked — he moved from Ardmore and he’s doing really good now,” Winnard said. “About three years ago, he called and wished me a ‘Merry Christmas.’ That’s the same thing as guiding and coaching those (high school) kids. I had never thought of it before now.”

It’s safe to say Winnard will think of even more stories before the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 10 at the Petroleum Club Oklahoma City at 100 N. Broadway Ave.

However, it won’t be the first time a Winnard is honored as his brother Larry earned the Lifetime Service to Wrestling award in 2009.

Gerald Winnard practices with his brother Larry, top, as members of the Oklahoma State wrestling team.

The duo can soon enjoy the honor together, along with the fact that they both went to Oklahoma State. Gerald wrestled for the Cowboys from 1969-71, while Larry was on the team from 1970-73.

The numbers favor Gerald though, as he won a Big 8 Conference Championship in 1970 and finished his career with an overall record of 38-14-4 along with nine pins.

And while his wrestling and coaching chapters have come to a close, he still knows what's most important.

“You learn discipline and you teach discipline,” Winnard said. “The biggest thing about me coaching is I run into a kid now that I coached 20 years ago and they’re still saying, ‘Yes, sir.’ That makes you feel good.”