He was often spoken of by many as: The Man, The Myth, The Legend; and all of those words would be the 110% truth.
The man is Ron Burnett and he has lost his courageous battle with cancer at the age of 73 on Saturday November 18. Burnett had entered hospice about a week ago and was surrounded by his beloved family.
To say he was tough would be a dramatic understatement. He described the word tough.
Many decades before there was the current massive youth wrestling movement in the state of Ohio and surrounding states there was one man that was one of the original pioneers to spark youth wrestling in the state of Ohio.
If you are familiar with Ohio wrestling then you already know the last name Burnett through his sons Erik(4X State Champ/Oberlin HS), Scotti(3X State Champ/Elyria Catholic HS) and now his crew of grandsons who are among the elite from high school down through the youth ranks. All great dynasties start with a great leader and that great leader was Coach Ron Burnett. Coach Burnett was an assistant coach at the legendary West Shore Youth Wrestling Club from 1979-1987 before taking over the reigns from 1987-1995. He then took over the North Coast Youth Wrestling Club for the 1995-1996 seasons. Following Westshore and North Coast he founded another, now legendary club, Ohio youth program in the All-American Wrestling Club, which is now known as BTW(Burnett Trained Wrestling).
Burnett was active on the mats with his wrestlers of all ages up until two years ago when his battle with cancer had forced him to hang up his wrestling shoes. Although retired off the mats he seemed to be around every corner still guiding and mentoring his grandsons and BTW wrestlers. Coach Burnett had an approach to the sport; that was tough and disciplined, yet a compassionate angle that tied everything together.
Coach Burnett has worked with Fargo All-Americans, Fargo Champions, well over 300 OHSAA state qualifiers, hundreds of state place winners, and nearly 70 Ohio state champions. His work has shown up through NCAA All-Americans including the infamous Stieber brothers, and two NCAA champions in Logan Stieber and Dustin Kilgore. Stieber was also Burnett's only World Champion wrestler.
In 2016 he was inducted into the Lorain County Wrestling Hall of Fame to a packed house at Elyria HS in front of family, friends, and coaches/wrestlers that he had a hand in grooming and inspiring.
Coach Burnett's obituary and funeral arrangements will be posted when available on www.ohiowrestlingnews.com.
He may no longer physically be in the practice rooms or corner of his wrestlers, rest assure his spirit and message will never be lost in the Ohio wrestling community that he helped shape throughout the past 40 years.
His spirit will continue to live on as; THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE LEGEND. No one will ever truly fill Coach Burnett's shoes but the thousands and thousands that he worked with will certainly carry on his message!
From the Ohio Wrestling News team our thoughts and prayers are extended to his family and all that came in contact with the great Coach Burnett.