Since 1983, Don Pluta’s Novembers have been the beginning of a new Holly varsity wrestling season.
After retiring at the individual state wrestling meet last March, this will be the first season Pluta isn’t getting ready for a season.
“It’s strange,” Pluta said. “I plan on being around helping with meets and stuff like that.”
He’ll also be busy with something else. Pluta is headed to Ann Arbor this weekend so he can be inducted into the Michigan Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Former Holly athletic director Deb VanKuiken nominated Pluta and many letters of recommendation were included in his nomination. He was voted in this year’s class along with Fowlerville coach Dan Coon and Lincoln Park coach David Winger.
Pluta, who while a Holly school student realized he wanted to teach and coach at Holly, lived his dream. He began coaching in 1983 and won seven Metro League titles, 11 district titles and three regional titles. He coached nine individuals to state championships, including two by Josh Houldsworth. From 2010 to 2013, the Bronchos ranked as one of the state’s stronger programs, earning three straight league crowns. He led the team to the team state wrestling meet in 2011 and 2012. Winner of more than 600 dual meets, Pluta is also a member of Holly’s Hall of Fame.
“It’s amazing to think about all of the people that made this happen,” Pluta said. “This is not just a Don Pluta thing. Parents drive the kids around and the athletes bust their butts helping build this program. It’s going to be an emotional night for me. It’s taken a lot of hard work by a lot of people.”
Pluta loved the life he lived at Holly High School.
“As I was getting closer to retiring five to six years ago, I realized I was able to live my dream,” Pluta said. “That’s what I wanted to do was to teach and coach at Holly. ... I feel very fortunate. I had a dream and I was able to live it for 41 years. That’s crazy.”