One of the key figures in the history of Cedar Grove-Belgium High School wrestling will soon take his place among the state’s most honored coaches.
Gerry Peterson, who guided the Rockets to numerous conference, regional, sectional and state championships in 19 years at the varsity helm, will be inducted into the Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame next month.
Peterson, a 1974 graduate of Cedar Grove-Belgium High School, spent 25 years coaching wrestlers at the youth, junior high and high school levels.
“It’s a great honor to be selected,” Peterson said of his Hall of Fame recognition. “It’s great to just be nominated. I never thought it would happen.”
After spending several years as a junior high and assistant coach, Peterson oversaw the varsity program from 1982 to 2000. During his time as head coach, the Rockets won four Central Lakeshore Conference titles,
reached the sectional level seven times and appeared in two WIAA state team tournaments.
He also coached 62 conference individual champions, 111 regional place finishers (first or second), 49 sectional place finishers and 39 state place winners, including four champions.
Peterson was nominated for WWCA District Coach of the Year honors several times. He is the first Central Lakeshore Conference coach chosen for the Hall of Fame.
As a youth coach, Peterson saw his wrestlers excel at state and national levels in folkstyle, freestyle and Greco tournaments as members of the Wisconsin Wrestling Federation.
He established club wrestling for the Cedar Grove-Belgium area and continues to oversee a program that awards an annual memorial scholarship to a graduating senior wrestler.
While in high school, Peterson was a member of the wrestling and football teams. After graduation, he farmed and worked at the Kohler Co. and then at Spiller Spring Co. in Sheboygan, where he has been employed the past 28 years.
He and his wife Laurie have three children and four grandchildren. His son Trevor is the current Cedar Grove-Belgium varsity wrestling coach.
“Wrestling has been a family tradition,” said Peterson, who noted that his wife has played a key role by organizing tournaments, keeping statistics and providing moral support.
“I’ve always called my wife the real head coach.”
Peterson continues to serve as a volunteer coach with the Rockets program.
“It’s all been very rewarding. I’ve coached hundreds of kids and even some of their sons,” he said.
“The best thing is seeing them do well, not only in wrestling but after they graduate and go off to college or work.”
Among his other service roles in the community, Peterson has been a member of the Cedar Grove Fire Department, Cedar Grove First Responders, Cedar Grove Jaycees and a 4-H baseball coach.
Peterson and three other honorees will be inducted into the WWCA’s George Martin Hall of Fame on Friday, Nov. 5, at the Hotel Sierra and Convention Center in Green Bay.
Tickets for the event are $36 and can be ordered by calling John Stockowitz at (262) 642-7652.
FORMER CEDAR GROVE-BELGIUM wrestling coach Gerry Peterson (right) has been chosen for induction into the Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Peterson attributed much of his success to the support of family members, including his wife Laurie (center) and son Trevor (left), the Rockets’ current head coach. Photo by Sam Arendt