Throughout his life Ray has been involved in several wrestling programs from his high school West View/North Hills HS to his college Penn State University to his team Nazareth HS to his son Ryan's team Parkland HS to Ironwood Ridge HS in Arizona where he assisted after retiring. He has also had a longtime affiliation with nearby Lehigh University.
Ray was in 10th grade when he began to wrestle at West View High School, now North Hills in Pittsburgh, PA. The first time he saw a wrestling match was the first one he participated in. In his first season he wrestled at 88 and the team was 7-6 coached by John Weixel, a graduate of West View who graduated from Edinboro before returning to his alma mater to teach and coach.
The North Hills Press, "Ray Nunamaker, a sophomore, more or less grew into wrestling, as his brother Jay was on the team last year and is now one of the best on the freshman team at Pitt."
The following season Ray moved up to 95 and the team finished 5-7-1.
In his senior year, 1958, Ray was 7-4-1 and finished 2nd place in District 7.
In September of 2001 Ray was inducted into the North Hills School District Sports Hall of Fame.He was presented by Rande Stottlemyer, the University of Pittsburgh wrestling coach, who at the time of his retirement was one of the most accomplished and longest tenured coaches for any sport at Pitt (read his retirement article from the university here).Ironically, both served as head coach of their respective school for 34 seasons. Rande coached current Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro, who was from District XI's Bethlehem Catholic to a career that made him a 4x All-American, 3x NCAA Finalist, and 2x NCAA Champion. Pat also served two years as a graduate assistant at Penn State and is also a family friend.
Ray did not begin his career at Penn State intending to wrestle, instead he was planning on becoming a mechanical engineer. He did participate in an intramural tournament and caught the eye of Coach Speidel who encouraged him to come out for the team his sophomore year.
He did and his workout partner Dale Confer qualified for nationals at 115. The team was undefeated into January and Amateur Wrestling News picked them as the top squad in the country.
The 1959-60 team finished 9-0-1 and were 7th in the NCAA tournament.
That season, Gray Simons of Lock Haven won the title at 115, Dave Auble of Cornell won at 123, Thad Turner of Lehigh was runner-up at 157, teammates Ron Pifer was 4th at 157 and Johnston Oberly was 3rd at Hwt.
Later that spring, PSU hosted the District II tryouts for the Olympic Trials and he participated along with 8 other teammates.
The 1960-61 season also saw Ray competing for a spot with Dale Confer. The team finished 6-4 with losses to Michigan, Lehigh, Navy and Syracuse.
The 57th EIWA Championships were held at Lehigh's Grace Hall that season. Lehigh finished 1st ahead of Pitt and Penn State. Longtime friend and Lehigh star Thad Turner was OW at 157.
The 1961-62 season saw Ray first breaking his hand and then getting mononucleosis to miss essentially the entire season.
The 1962-63 season Ray began student teaching and working out at Franklin and Marshall. He missed out on a starting spot, but after the season entered the Metropolitan NY AAU tournament and won to finish his collegiate career.
Ray has remained an active fan of PSU wrestling since leaving college and received the Outstanding Wrestling Alumnus award in the mid 1980s.
You can read Ray's take on his time at PSU on the Penn State Wrestling Club website.
Ray has reunited with his teammates at the NCAA tournament many times throughout the 2000's, including 2002 when Rob Rohn won the NCAA title for Lehigh.
The majority of Ray's wrestling coaching career took place in Nazareth where he arrived after college and coached for the following 34 seasons.
Ray's son Ryan became the head coach at Parkland HS following stints at Randallstown, MD and East Stroudsburg, PA. Although Ray had a retirement home in AZ, he found himself coming home for the month of December and working with the team during his time home.
The first year Ray spent the winter in Arizona he assisted with perennial power Sunnyside in Tucson. Ray had called the coach to see if he'd be okay with him coming in to work with the kids. Ray arrived at the school and being introduced as the former coach at Nazareth, one of the wrestlers noted he knew Nazareth. Ray was surprised and asked how. The kid said he had a recruiting trip to NC State and Joey Caramanica had taken him around for the weekend. After the holiday Ray brought back a host of NC State gear that Ryan had available for the wrestler in Arizona.
The school, however, was close to an hour from where Ray lived so he switched to nearby Ironwood Ridge.
Ironwood Ridge has also had tremendous success and not only did Ray work with the team on an annual basis, but the team visited the Lehigh Valley and were hosted by Ryan's Parkland program one summer. The 2013 pre-season outlook remains available.The Arizona Daily Star included a quote from Ray in this 2013 article as the team entered sectionals seeking to win their 3rd straight state championship.
Since beginning his coaching career at Nazareth, Ray was involved in the camps at Lehigh. Thad Turner, who became Lehigh's head coach suceeding Gerry Leeman, is a long-time friend of Ray's. The two coached against one another when Thad was at Phillipsburg and have continued their friendship into retirement meeting weekly for a game of golf once Ray returned from Arizona.
In the 2001-02 season Lehigh's Tri-Captains were Chris Vitale, Rob Rohn, and Jon Trenge. Vitale and Rohn wrestled for Ray at Nazareth and Trenge was a graduate of Parkland. Rohn would win an NCAA title with one of the most amazing finishes in finals history, which Ray was able to watch first hand. Trenge lost to Cael Sanderson who claimed his 4th title. Chris Vitale became an All-American that season.
Ray has been affiliated with the Lehigh Valley Athletic Club since its inception in 1999, and remains as a member of its leadership.