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Ray's Day

Following Ray's coaching retirement (he went on to teach five more years), the Borough of Nazareth proclaimed January 3rd, 1998 as "Ray's Day."

A banquet was held in his honor at the Northampton Community Center and it was broadcast on local TV.

The program agenda:

  • Welcome:  Chuck Madson
  • Invocation: Vic Silimperi
  • Toast: Chuck Madson
  • Dinner
  • Master of Ceremonies: Bill McCoach (Yes, the voice of District XI AAA Wrestling)
  • Ray's Citations (not listed here, but he also received a letter from President Bill Clinton):
    • US Congressman Paul McHale, presented by Cindy Duelley
    • Lieutenant Governor Mark Schweiker
    • State Senator Joseph Uliana
    • State Representative Leonard Gruppo
    • State Representative Craig Dally
    • Northampton Country Executive Bill Brackbill
    • Northampton Country Council member Peg Ferraro
    • Nazareth Mayor Elmo Frey
    • Nazareth Borough Council member Larry Stoudt
  • Thanks from Ray's Wrestling Family
    • Ray's First Wrestling Team: Lon Werner
    • Wrestler and Assistant Coach: Rob Albert
    • Assistant Coach: Greg Shoemaker
    • First State Champion: Brad Silimperi
    • Two Time State Champion: Mike Miller, presented by Ron Miller
    • The Herceg Boys (first father and sons coached by Ray): Jim Sr, Jim Jr, Ken, Mike, and Steve
    • Last State Champion: Rob Rohn
    • Nazareth HS Principal: Vic Lesky
    • Son: Ross Nunamaker
    • Son: Ryan Nunamaker
  • Parade of Champions
  • Presentation of Gifts
  • Ray Says Good-Bye

Included in the program a message from Ray to the Nazareth Wrestling Family:

It's hard to believe the years have passed so quickly. It seems like yesterday that I arrived at Nazareth in 1963, fresh from Penn State, and knowing no one. Today, thirty-four years later, Nazareth is my home, and I feel like I know everyone.

The wrestlers who I coached at Nazareth are very special to me. I loved them all. I feel they would have done anything for me, and I would have done anything for them. They, along with the Mat Maids and Cheerleaders, have made my coaching career so memorable. If success can be measured by friends, as well as wins and losses, I have been blessed. The parents and fans who supported us are the greatest!!

When I first arrived in Nazareth, I remember something I read on the back of a menu at Carldon's Restaurant. Quoting the Bible it said, "Can anything good ever come out of Nazareth?" I immediately thought...Yes, a great wrestling team, and I dedicated my life to building one. My ambitions were fueled by the wonderful people I met along the way. The road at times was rocky; we had our share of heartaches and we had our joys, but we stuck together as a family.

Seeing Nazareth Wrestling achieve national prominence was a reflection of everyone who cared about the program, especially my assistant coaches. Destinations are great, but it's the journey that we remember...all the wrestlers who never became champions, but practiced like champions. They paved the way for future success.

To all the wrestlers, mat maids and cheerleaders who made our program special, THANK YOU! To the parents, fans and booster club who made tonight special, THANK YOU! To my wife Scherrie and my sons Ross and Ryan, who make my life special, THANK YOU!

Ray Nunamaker

 

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