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Wrestling Hall of Famer passes

Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune

Madera Hall of Famer Robert Arballo is all smiles after receiving his plaque last year. Arballo was a member of the 1969 Valley Championship wrestling team. After coaching many years at Fresno City College, Arballo coached at Madera and then started the Madera South wrestling program.


Former Madera Coyote standout wrestler and former Madera and Madera South wrestling coach Robert Arballo passed away Thursday after suffering a heart attack.

Arballo was inducted with the the 1969 Madera Coyotes wrestling team into the 2018 Madera Athletic Hall of Fame.

He went almost undefeated in 1969 whle winning the North Yosemite League championship, but saw his 26-match winning streak stopped in the Valley Championship finals match.

Later, Arballo succeeded Corky Napier coaching the wrestling progam at Madera High School. After two years, Arballo left Madera to begin the program at Madera South, where he coached for two more years. Before that, he was a coach at Fresno Community College.

He has been a wrestling referee the past few seasons, including helping to officiate the 2019 Chukchansi Tournament at Madera South High School.

Madera Unified School Superintendent Todd Lile posted on on the Madera F.A.N./Hall of Fame Facebook page about his interactions with Arballo.

“I met Coach Arballo in 1988 in OCS at Jefferson - don’t ask why. But he was no-nonsense and cool all at the same time. I didn’t know then what a wrestling legend he was but years later, he was an assistant coach at FCC and so was I. We reconnected and I loved seeing him. And then we worked together at South and he was a model of both Stallion and Coyote Pride. Coach Arballo is gone too soon and he gave so much to his hometown.”

This from the Fresno City College Wrestling Facebook page:

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Robert Arballo.

Coach Arballo was a two time state champion at Fresno City College. He was an assistant coach for Coach Musick for 15+ years. He was head coach at FCC in 1999. Inducted member of the Fresno Wrestling Hall of Fame. He was a great man loved and respected by many.

This is a great loss for the wrestling community. His impact,guidance and presence have been felt by many coaches and student athletes.

The Fresno City College Wrestling team would like to wish our condolences to Coach Arballo’s family. Wishing you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your heart.”

From 2016 inductee and wrestling state champion Ryan Philp:

“Sad to hear about the passing of a Madera legend... Coach Arballo, you will be greatly missed in our wrestling community”

From Matthew Borges, a former student of Arballo’s at Madera South:

“A true community man. Madera won’t be the same without him. It’s time for my generation to step up and devote time to this town like he did. Rest in peace, Coach.”


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