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Arriving at Lakeview High School in 1963, this outstanding builder dedicated over 30 years to youth athletics. Although coaching a variety of sports including track and field and football, it was in the sport of wrestling that he truly left his mark at Lakeview & Hillcrest High Schools and Lakehead University.

With an eye for spotting talent, Reino suggested to a student who was on the football team that he should consider giving wrestling a try. That student, Steve Daniar, went onto claim 6 national titles, earn medals at the Commonwealth and Pan-American Games and compete at the 1976 Olympics. Under his direction, he developed his students into some of the finest wrestlers in the country, with a number of Lakeview students going on to excel at national and international competitions including Commonwealth medallists Brian and Lloyd Renken. Reino's success as a coach was also evident in team events, with one of his proudest moments occurring in 1979 when Lakeview claimed the OFSAA Wrestling Team title, beating out close to 200 schools and dominating the entire tournament.

Not surprisingly, Reino's talents as a coach at the high school level soon saw him coaching the Northwestern Ontario Wrestling team, taking them to the 1974 Canadian Open Junior and Senior Championships where they placed third overall. In 1975 he served as coach of the Ontario team at the Canada Winter Games and with the National Junior Wrestling squad at the 1975 World Championships.

Reino's outstanding contributions to wrestling have been recognized in a number of ways, having received Certificate of Recognition and Achievement Awards from the Province of Ontario, the 1988 Award of Merit from the Government of Canada, the 1994 Leadership in School Sport Award and with his induction into the Lakehead University Wrestling Wall of Fame this year. Perhaps the finest honour that could be bestowed upon this builder of sport, however, is the fact that many of the students that he taught went on to serve as coaches themselves, carrying on his tradition of excellence.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 30, 1995

Reino Niemi

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