Welker Memoirs Are Lauded

Photo by Kim North Wheeling native Dr. Bill Welker stands with his book “The Sparrow’s Spirit: A Champion Wrestler’s Lifetime Reflections on Prayer and Perseverance. The book was recently selected as a Silver Medal finalist in the 12th annual National Indie Excellence in Books Awards.

WHEELING — Dr. Bill Welker has been honored with a second book award. Most recently, Welker learned that his sports-oriented memoirs, “The Sparrow’s Spirit: A Champion Wrestler’s Lifetime Reflections on Prayer and Perseverance,” was selected as a Silver Medal finalist in the 12th annual National Indie Excellence in Books Awards. Last year, the book was declared the winner in the sports category by the Beverly Hills Book Awards judges.

“I must say that the late, legendary sports editor, Bill Van Horne, helped me so much in perfecting my writing skills. I’ll never forget what he often emphasized: ‘Always write about topics with which you are familiar.’

“I am very humbled with this nomination,” Welker said.

A former Pennsylvania state champion, award-winning official and coach, Welker has written more than 600 wrestling articles and three books since 1974. His two editions of “The Wrestling Drill Book” have sold more than 30,000 copies nationwide.

As the “Mat Talk Series” columnist for the Times-Leader and Sunday News-Register from 1978-2010, Welker was named an unprecedented seven times as West Virginia’s Snyder-Miller Wrestling Sportswriter of the Year. In fact, he is one of only two wrestling sportswriters in the country to be selected twice as the National Sportswriter of the Year by Wrestling USA Magazine.

Welker served as the wrestling rules interpreter, clinician, and supervisor of state tournament officials for the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission from 1989-2017. He was also a member of the National Federation of State High School Association’s Wrestling Rules committee from 2012-15.

He has been inducted into four wrestling halls of fame, including the National Wrestling Hall of Fame (West Virginia Chapter) and the Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame.

As an educator for 40 years, Welker published numerous practical papers on the art and science of teaching in various national educational journals. Upon retiring, he was selected as “Teacher of the Year” by the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce. He also received the prestigious Jasper N. Deahl Award from West Virginia University for his contributions to education.

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