Urbach selected for WCA Hall of Fame

Posted 4/8/21

Longtime Powell High School wrestling coach Nate Urbach is carrying on the legacy of his community and his family.

He will be inducted into the Wyoming Coaches Association Hall of Fame in June, …

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Urbach selected for WCA Hall of Fame

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Longtime Powell High School wrestling coach Nate Urbach is carrying on the legacy of his community and his family.

He will be inducted into the Wyoming Coaches Association Hall of Fame in June, joining other coaching greats from around the state. Urbach spent 16 years coaching PHS, winning nine state championships before retiring from the high school ranks in 2020. 

When he opened his email inbox on Thursday, March 25, Urbach received the news.

“I thought I had a good chance of getting in, but I was happy for lots of different reasons. It means a lot,” he said. “It’s always your goal, to be one of the best guys. It’s certainly an honor, for sure.”

Urbach and his father, Tom — who was inducted in 2009 — are the first father-son duo to receive the honor.

“I was happy and just thought it was really nice when I found that out,” Urbach said. “It’s pretty cool.”

The coach arrived in Powell in 2004, previously working in Rushville, Nebraska, where he won three state championships. Urbach’s impact was noticeable shortly after he joined the program, steadily improving every season and winning his first Wyoming 3A state championship in 2008. After that, PHS wrestling turned into a dynasty, winning five more titles.

But Urbach’s legacy isn’t just built around championships and accomplishments.

“He’s always a positive influence,” said Nick Fulton, the current PHS coach and a former assistant under Urbach. “The biggest thing with Coach Urbach is he just does things the right way. He has high expectations for the kids and gets things done.”

PHS activities director Scott McKenzie added that Urbach “is very deserving of this award. His tenure in Wyoming wrestling speaks for itself.”

Though Urbach no longer coaches wrestling at the high-school level, he is still giving back to the community and the sport. This winter, he coached the Powell Middle School program in what he described as an “enjoyable” season.

His continued dedication after retirement has shown his loyalty to Powell and its wrestling scene. 

“Any time you can be in his presence, you’re going to get better,” Fulton said. “He is still very supportive of the program, and he’s a student of the sport.”

While he is thankful and excited to be recognized, Urbach stressed how important the people around him were to his coaching journey. 

Particularly, the coach is thankful for his wife, Hidee. Wrestling “takes a tremendous amount of time away from home,” and Urbach said he appreciates her unwavering support. Others he thanked were his former wrestlers, assistant coaches and everyone else in the community who helped him along the way.

“It’s never a one-man show,” Urbach said. “It’s a community effort to have sustainable success. When you’re in it for a long time, there are layers and layers of people you dedicate it to.

“I really do appreciate that,” he said. “That’s what you miss the most.”

Urbach will receive his recognition in July at the annual Wyoming Coaches Association Banquet. 

Due to COVID-19, last year’s event was postponed to 2021, so inductees from 2020 will be honored as well. That means McKenzie, a longtime girls’ basketball coach, will also receive his induction, as he was a member of last year’s class. 

“As I watched his program excel, I wanted the same for the girls’ basketball program,” said McKenzie, whose Panther squad captured its first-ever 3A title in 2015. “I am looking forward to celebrating with Coach Urbach this summer.”

Added Urbach, “Just sitting there, being around the other coaches will be nice. It’s a nice atmosphere to be there.”

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