Longtime Fresno City College wrestling coach Robert Arballo was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame on Friday during a fundraiser.
“It’s an honor,” he said. “I don’t say that lightly. I feel a little proud about it. It’s something I can let my grandkids know what I accomplished. They see me as the old guy.”
Arballo, who placed second in the Valley Championships and helped lead the Madera Coyotes to a Valley title in 1969, coached at Fresno City College for 17 years and was a two-time state champion (1971-1973).
“My days at Fresno City was that wrestling was a priority,” Arballo said. “It was enjoyable, but it was hard work. I learned how to cut weight in college. I started at city at 150 pounds and coach put me on a diet. I went from 142 to 134 and then 126 pounds. I was eating the whole time and it made it fun. I had energy. Not like in high school, I would start the week at 150 pounds and starve to 126 and then do the same thing each week.”
Arballo wrestled under the coaching of Hall of Famer Al Kiddy at Madera.
“Everything that I learned from Al Kiddy, I used in college like all of his basic fundamentals and techniques,” Arballo said.
After he graduated from Madera, he wrestled for two years at Fresno City College and then returned to the school to coach. He was an assistant for 15 years and took over the program for two years.
“Coaching was a lot of fun with Bill Musick,” Arballo said. “Not only was he my coach, he was my mentor. He taught me a lot about how to communicate and how to raise money. He taught me how to recruit.He taught me the whole scheme and it was fun going out recruiting minority kids and watching them succeed in life.”
After he left Fresno City, he coached at Madera High for three years and became the first wrestling coach at Madera South and stayed for eight years.