2013 Craig Belcher  Milwaukee.jpgCraig Edward Belcher was born June 8, 1954, son of Joseph Belcher and Betty Debriae. He was the middle of three children, an older brother Brian and a younger sister Dana. He attended both Verona and Dodgeland High School, graduating from Dodgeland in 1972. From 1972-1977, Craig attended the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin and received his Bachelor of Science of Education of Math.

After earning his degree, his ascent into the Wisconsin Wrestling culture began. His love of wrestling brought him first to officiating which he successfully accomplished with Wisconsin Kids State for 3 years. Although he never quit officiating, coaching the sport he loved was his true passion.

As a volunteer coach under his mentor Coach Spicuzza at Milwaukee Washington from 1975-1977 his fever grew. As he grew professionally as an educator, he also grew professionally as a wrestling coach. He was head coach of Milwaukee Bay View for 4 years before moving on to Milwaukee Pulaski for 3 years from 1982-1985. From Pulaski, his will and determination took him from Milwaukee and MPS wrestling on to Whitefish Bay High School, where his achievements are yet to be matched. As the high school coach, he successfully had their only state place winner and recorded their highest number of state qualifiers to date. Not just as a coach but as a mentor he initiated and founded Whitefish Bay's first kid's club and middle school program as his desire to inspire not only his scholar athletes towards wrestling but the future scholar athletes as well carried on. Although his 10 years at Whitefish Bay were historic, his relentless motivation to coach as well as to educate brought Craig to MPS and to Milwaukee Hamilton. This was his final destination on an epic Wisconsin Wrestling Hall of Fame journey. For 16 years at Hamilton, he set or tied nearly every record for coaching at the school, from dual meet wins to state place winners and state qualifiers, season and career. The echoes of his achievements were not only heard as a coach at Milwaukee Hamilton but also as a math teacher, athletic director, counselor, administrator, and over all ambassador for city wrestling and the education future of our youth.

Wrestling not only defined Craig's life, it enriched it. As a coach, his historic record and achievements stand alone, but it was his overall benevolent involvement with the sport that solidifies his hall of fame career. As a district 7 representative for 5 years, he was the driving force in successfully bringing wrestling programs back to Milwaukee Pulaski, Milwaukee North, and Milwaukee South. He has purchased equipment, uniforms, video's, and wrestling mats for programs and kids in need as his passion for wrestling exists outside just the confines of a wrestling mat. What wrestling gave to Coach Belcher, Coach Belcher gave back to wrestling. From hiring all the officials for all the meets and tournaments in Milwaukee, and coordinating the pre and post season conference wrestling meetings, Craig's stamp on the wrestling community can be seen everywhere city wide.

He was a loving father of three (Dylan, Araby, and John), and a amazing mentor to many. Wrestling was the sport that lined the halls of Craig's soul. His belief in education and success through wrestling was Craig's life work with the classroom and wrestling room being the canvas. It is an unspeakable honor for Coach Belcher to be elected into the Wisconsin Wrestling Hall of Fame. To be recognized for his commitment and passion for wrestling is a dream come true. For him, a wrestler with an A in the classroom and a diploma on his wall is a success even an undefeated record couldn't match. Of course, for Craig, a match was the best place to start.


Obituary - Craig Belcher

Belcher, Craig Edward Fell asleep in Jesus on November 8, 2011, at age 57. Beloved son of Betty Jacobson. Dear brother of Brian (Kathy) Belcher and Dana Cronk. Loving father of Dylan, Araby, John and Jeff. Former husband and good friend of Polly Belcher. Also loved by other family members and a host of friends and colleagues. Visitation at the Funeral Home on Saturday, November 12, at 1-5PM. Funeral Service at St. Marcus Lutheran Church on Sunday, November 13, at 12:30PM. Craig was a longtime teacher, counselor and wrestling coach at Milwaukee Hamilton High School. He was also an avid Brewers fan and Sportservice worker for over 30 years.

Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Nov. 11, 2011 - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/jsonline/obituary.aspx?pid=154555514#sthash.mu5egvYC.dpuf