The original plan was to head to Hershey and pursue a career in criminal justice.

But those plans changed and Randy Haught traveled south to Alabama to pursue a career in law.

The winding road led to Hoover, Ala., and, four decades later, recognition of a long career in different aspects of wrestling when he was rewarded two months ago. The 1969 Trinity High School graduate was inducted into the Alabama chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Haught was given the Lifetime Service to Wrestling award at a ceremony May 5 at the Shelby campus of Jefferson State Community College.

“I was down here for 45 years,” said the 67-year-old Haught. “I look at it that to get inducted into a hall of fame, you start at the top of the pile and work your way down. I can think of a bunch of people who contributed more to the sport than I did. My situation might be, ‘Hey, let’s put the crazy old man in.’”

Haught won three letters at Trinity and was a WPIAL runner-up as a senior before going to California University, where he left in 1973 as the school’s dual meet record leader at 61-12-1. He was the university’s first NAIA All-American with a fourth-place finish.

“In my senior year, I lost only one match,” said Haught, “and that was to a man named Wade Schalles. I lost to him in dual meets and in the state conference. Thank God he went to NCAAs and we went NAIA.”

Haught earned a degree in Education at the University of Montevallo and a degree from from Birmingham School of Law in 1977.

Haught then began his officiating career, spanning 45 years and including 31 Alabama High School Athletic Association championships.

“Wrestling up there is a little better than down here,” Haught said.

His coaching career began in 2001 as the head coach at John Carroll High School. He then moved on to Hoover High School, where he led his team to the 2005 AHSAA state team title. He was named the Class 6A Coach of the Year and one of his wrestlers, Will McCutcheon, was named Wrestler of the Year.

“I brought the Hoover team to Pennsylvania in 2005,” said Haught. “I wanted to get into the (Powerade) tournament but (tournament director) Frank Vulcano told me I didn’t have a team to compete in this, so he put us in the Chartiers-Houston Tournament. We took third place.”

He moved on to become an assistant coach under two legendary coaches, Bill Hughes and Paul Moore, and was named Assistant Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association in 2007.

Haught is currently the head coach at Gardendale High School.

Assistant Sports Editor

Joe Tuscano has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1980. He has covered all sports for the newspaper, including the Steelers, Pirates, Pitt football, local college football and wrestling.

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