Coach George Worley celebrates his 88th birthday Feb. 1 2020 with at the George Worley Invitational with Atchison coach Ed Crouse, assistant Nic Stilwell and Maur Hill-Mount Academy coach Craig Handke.

Hall of Fame Wrestling coach George Worley passed away Sunday morning at the age of 89 at Atchison Medicalodge.

Worley had been a legendary pillar for the sport of wrestling in the Atchison community.

Both Atchison coach Ed Crouse and Maur Hill-Mount Academy Craig Handke were both influenced by Worley during their time knowing him.

“George is a founding father of Kansas High School wrestling,” Crouse said. “He was pivotal in bringing HS wrestling to eastern Kansas and by doing that he influenced thousands of athletes.”

“Coach Worley is and always will be the Grandfather of Wrestling in Atchison and Northeast Kansas,” Handke said. “He is the reason I coach Wrestling because of Coach. He knew every move, every counter to every move and every counter to every counter.”

During his first ten years of his career, Worley coached wrestling at Atchison County Community High School, Palco High School, Saint Mary’s High School and Wamego High School.

He joined Northwest Missouri State University in 1969 and became an assistant coach for the baseball and football programs.

In 1970, he became the head wrestling coach for the Bearcats and was the MIAA Wrestling coach of the year in 1975

Worley joined Atchison High School in 1978 and was the head football, wrestling, and assistant track coach.

He spent 20 years coaching and teaching at Atchison.

Crouse took the head coaching job in 1995 and Worley was his assistant until 2006.

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“I always referred to him as my ‘Kansas Dad’,” Crouse said. “We didn’t always agree but we always had enough respect for one another to listen and adjust if necessary.”

Handke said Worley truly had a remarkable impact on his life.

“Only a handful of people truly impact or change your life,” Handke said. “Coach was one of those men in my life.”

Worley attended Benedictine College and played football from 1954-1958.

He was inducted into the Kansas Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Benedictine College Hall of Fame in 2005.

Worley joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1951 before attending college.

He eventually became a Sergeant and a Korean War Veteran.

He married Phyllis Ann (Pickering) Worley on June 15th, 1952. George and Phyllis had two children, Mike and Mark. Surviving immediate family is his wife, Phyllis, brother, Floyd, sons Mike Worley (Becky) and Mark Worley (Rita), 5 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren.

He is preceded in death by sisters Mabel, Maxine, Geraldine, brother Johnny, and granddaughter Jillian.

A memorial service will be Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at 11 A.M. at First Baptist Church in Atchison. A visitation with the family will be Tuesday, March 30th from 7 until 8:30 P.M. at the Arensberg-Pruett Funeral Home.

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