Photo of John Speasl

Retired Athletic Director, John Speasl, inducted into the NJCAA Coaching Hall of Fame

Anne Matthews News

Coos Bay, OR – Southwestern Oregon Community College’s retired Athletic Director and Coach, John Speasl was inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Hall of Fame, on March 7, 2020 at the NJCAA National Championships in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

John Speasl started his wrestling career at Lebanon High School in Oregon. He was a two-time district champion and a state Greco Roman Champion. After graduating from high school, John enrolled at Clark Community College and placed third and fourth at conference. John was then recruited by and continued wrestling for Southern Oregon University and became a two-time conference runner-up.

After graduating from Southern Oregon University with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education he went on to achieve his master’s degree and continued his involvement with wrestling. He started coaching wrestling at Southwestern Oregon Community college in 1973. Twice Southwestern was conference Champions and John was named Coach of the Year three times. In addition to coaching at Southwestern he was honored to coach the Junior Pan-Am Greco Roman team in 1984. He continued to coach until 1987 when several athletic programs fell victim to cuts, including wrestling. In 1986 John became Southwestern’s Athletic Director and was able to reinstate wrestling in 1996. He also took on coaching volleyball to help save the wrestling program from title nine imbalance issues. John continued to serve wrestling by providing leadership and administrative support until 2011 when he retired. In retirement, John and a group of Oregon wrestling friends started the “Restore College Wrestling” group. They have successfully added four Oregon college wrestling programs. He has dedicated much of his life to wrestling; as an athlete, coach and advocate. John adds the NJCAA Coaching Hall of Fame to the long list of other hall of fames including Southwestern Oregon Community College Hall of Fame, Southern Oregon University Hall of Fame, Northwest Athletic Conference Hall of Fame, National Wrestling Hall of Fame, as well as having the Southwestern Oregon Community College gym floor named in his honor. 

The Hall of Fame banquet is held in conjunction with the NJCAA National Wrestling Tournament where coaches are also honored. This year Southwestern’s very own Head Wrestling Coach, Adam Whitlatch was named Man of the Year. Adam’s team also had three wrestlers finish in the top 10 making All American status.

Congratulations Coach Speasl, Coach Whitlatch, and Southwestern Wrestling!