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Ex-standout Tigers wrestler remembered off, and on, mat

Courtesy photo Dan Fetzer was a Northwest Regional champ in 1976 for the Hollidaysburg Golden Tigers program.

Dan Fetzer was an outstanding wrestler at Hollidaysburg Area High School in the mid-1970s, joining teammate Larry Pleshko as a Northwest AAA Regional Tournament champion when both were seniors in 1976.

Fetzer carded a 21-3 record that season, winning both the District 6 and Northwest Regional championship at 138 pounds. Pleshko was also a district and regional champ at 126 that year.

Fetzer, who passed away at the age of 63 last Friday, was remembered fondly by a former coach and a former teammate for both his wrestling skills and his cooperative, helpful personality.

“Danny was one very coachable kid,” said Jim Rhodes, who still lives in Hollidaysburg.

He coached Fetzer during his junior high school wrestling days, and also later served a brief tenure as the Golden Tigers’ varsity head coach after Fetzer had graduated.

“He was a very, very good wrestler. He was a great kid who did everything that he was supposed to do,” Rhodes said.

Brady Leahey was one of Fetzer’s wrestling teammates at Hollidaysburg and remembers Fetzer well. Leahey didn’t begin competing in wrestling until he was a high school sophomore, but said that Fetzer inspired and encouraged him.

“He was a leader in the wrestling room, and a leader on the team,” Leahey said. “I remember as a first-time wrestler in the tenth grade, him telling me to stick with it, and I’d come along.”

Leahey did so, eventually becoming a regional tournament qualifier himself as a senior in 1977, a year after Fetzer had graduated.

“Even though I was only a year behind him, he was such a veteran already, and for him to give me time, I respected that,” Leahey said of Fetzer. “He was so mechanically sound in his wrestling, he had a winning attitude, and he worked hard.”

Fetzer, who is survived by three grown children and seven grandchildren, retired as a welder from WATCO in Hollidaysburg. Memorial contributions can be sent to Grace Fellowship, 14 Brethren Lane, Duncansville, Pa. 16635, a church in which Fetzer was a member.

A funeral service was held at the Good Funeral Home in Altoona on Tuesday, and interment will take place at Alto-Reste Park.

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