Bill Neal, Wrestling Coach at Richland College has retired from teaching and coaching at Richland College in Dallas after 48 years of
service. Bill was recruited to Dallas in 1972 to start a wrestling program in the DCCCD, by one time chancellor, Jan LeCroy. At that time freestyle and greco wrestling was a foreign thought in area wrestling. He hosted open workouts for local high school wrestlers and was the only one taking athletes to the national tournaments. Jackie Nelson of Irving, Johnny Cobb of Amarillo, Paul Aubrey of Farmers Branch were the other high school wrestling gurus in the state of Texas at the time.
From 1972-1984 Richland dominated the collegiate wrestling scene winning 7 of 10 State Championships and finishing second twice while wrestling in the NJCAA as well the last two years of the program. All Texas colleges dropped wrestling programs in 1984 and since there was no longer competition locally Richland stopped as well.
Coach Neal resurrected the program in 2016 and competed in the NCWA. The only two year program in the southwestern United States,
Richland placed 5 men and 5 women as All-Americans including 3 Academic All-Americans.
Notable wrestlers over the past years include Brian Nelson from Irving Nimitz who was an NAIA National Champion for Carson-Newman University. Brian was also an NJCAA All-American while at Richland.
Rudy Perez from Dallas Spruce was a 3 time National Champion and a World Champion. Evan Bernstein from Richardson was a 1988 Olympian.
Coaching on the National Greco-Roman Wrestling Staff for seven summers in the late 70’s and early 80’s at the Olympic Training Center,
Neal coached in 3 National Sports Festivals, 5 World Tournaments and coached USA Teams to Poland, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, China and Germany. He also hosted teams to the Dallas area from Mexico, New Zealand, Germany and Japan.
Coach Neal was a Texas high wrestling official in 1987 and called the state finals.
Acting as an advisor for the movie, “Born on the 4th of July ” starring Tom Cruise, Bill was the official in the wrestling scene. He also was awarded the Minnie Piper Stevens Teacher of the Year Award at Richland in 2000 and delivered the graduation address.
Bill and his wife, Donnie reside on a 50 acre ranch south of Canton, Tx. with horses, cows, donkeys, goats and chickens. Of course dogs and cats are included.
Coach Neal is credited with creating the Lengendary “Thunderduck” mascot of Richland College.