In Funk's Corner
Coach John Heath - He Loved Wrestling
In the dressing room at the Robards Arena in Sarasota I asked Coach Heath about his football coaching techniques. He said, "All of my kids wrestle." I asked do you mean in the off season? Coach Heath said, "No as training for football." I said, "Oh you mean the spend some time on the mat?" Coach Heath said, "No, They wrestle on the field in there pads. They go for the first take down. Wrestling is the best conditioner and works the muscles in every direction. Wrestling is excellent for injury prevention." 

Coach Heath's kids spent fifteen minutes every day wrestling in their pads on the field as a part of training for football. I told Coach Heath it would certainly be interesting how they do considering their training regimen. That year Cardinal Mooney High School won the state championship. Leading the team at the quarterback position was Coach John Heath's son, John Heath Jr. 

When Eddie Graham (Promoter, Owner, and mastermind of Championship Wrestling From Florida) wanted to bring credibility into professional wrestling he would call on his friend and wrestling promoter from Sarasota Florida, Coach John Heath to do the color along with the "Dean of Wrestling Announcers," Gordon Solie. 

At the Sportatorium in Tampa Florida I was sitting in Eddie's office on the second floor. (The sweat room where Eddie would never turn the air on) I suggested that I work a match on 
TV with his son, Mike Graham who is an excellent amateur wrestler. I suggested that we wrestle an iron man style of match, where it is the only match and it lasts the full hour. Eddie looked at me and said, "Well this sounds like a job for Coach John Heath." 

When I wrestled Jack Bricso in a showdown match at Bay Front Arena in St. Petersburg, Florida and Eddie decided to televise the show, it had to be Coach John Heath who would do the color commentary along with Gordon Solie. Coach Heath gave the match the credibility factor with his recognition, description and even history of each real wrestling move. Coach Heath loved amateur wrestling and he loved professional wrestling.

One night after a hard one hour match with Mike Graham in Sarasota, Coach Heath asked me out to dinner. It was near Robards arena and the food was delicious. Garlic Pizza. We always laughed at how long the flavor reeked. It was three days before I speak closely to anyone.

Coach John Heath loved professional wrestling, the credible side.
He was a quiet man and very good at what he did.

Coach Heath passed away Friday. He was 80 years old.
Our condolences to his family.

Dory Funk Jr.

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