CASPER, Wyo. — Former Casper College wrestler Jerry Quinlan has been chosen to receive the Casper College Alumni Association’s “2020 Distinguished Alumni” award.
Quinlan’s personal, teaching and coaching achievements are extensive.
“Quinlan is well-known in not only the Casper community but also the state of Wyoming, particularly in wrestling, both as a competitor and coach,” Casper College said on March 11. “During his senior year in high school, Quinlan was crowned the Wyoming State Champion Outstanding Wrestler.”
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“Following a four-year stint and honorable discharge from the United States Air Force in 1958, Quinlan returned to Casper, where he enrolled at Casper College. While at Casper College, Quinlan was a member of the wrestling team.”
He began to teach at East Junior High School in Casper in 1961, having completed a bachelor’s degree in social studies through San Jose State College.
“A year later, Quinlan joined the teaching staff at Natrona County High School, where he taught English and history,” Casper College adds. “While at NCHS, he also served as the department chair of the social studies department, was the activities director, and coached not only wrestling but also football and track.”
Quinlan recorded 126 wins, 15 losses and two ties during his time as NCHS wrestling coach, according to the college. He also notched five regional championships along with four state championship titles and the Mustangs were runners-up twice in state championships during Quinlan’s tenure.
“During his time as a wrestling coach, Quinlan was named the Wyoming Coaches Association Wrestling Coach of the Year three times, established the record of most consecutive dual wins, 35, in Wyoming wrestling, coached 22 individual state champions, and was inducted into the Wyoming Coaches Hall of Fame in 1984,” Casper College adds. “In evidence of his qualities as a leader and coach, the Quinlan Trophy was established in his name and is awarded yearly to the outstanding wrestler at NCHS.”
NCHS teacher, football coach and Wyoming Speaker of the House Steve Harshman told Casper College he remembers meeting Quinlan in 1991.
“I have known Jerry since I first started at NCHS, and his leadership and knowledge were evident through his intentional work and planning,” Harshman said. “He builds people up, is not afraid of hard work, knows what needs to be done, and is not afraid to be honest. He always put people first. He is a doer and a winner, and a gem of Casper and Wyoming.”
Some of Quinlan’s former students recall the impact he has had on their lives. That includes Randall Hall, who works at Broker One Real Estate in Casper.
The college says Hall attended NCHS in the 1970s and that he served as student body vice president in the 1971-72 school year when Quinlan was serving as a student council advisor.
“While Mr. Quinlan was widely known for his coaching ability, his influence on me as an advisor and mentor helped me become the father, husband, and professional I am today,” Hall told Casper College. “I can only point to a few men who have impacted my life in equally positive and beneficial ways. There are teachers who teach, and there are teachers who lead. Jerry was definitely one of the latter.”
Quinlan will be presented with his award during Casper College’s commencement ceremonies which are currently scheduled for Friday, May 15.
“The Distinguished Alumni award winners are nominated by their peers and chosen by the board of directors of the Casper College Alumni Association,” the college added.