By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Donald Widmer joins Manteca Hall of Fame
Placeholder Image

Donald Widmer - a man who defeated Jim Plunkett twice during his high school wrestling career that included a 67-match winning streak 0- is being inducted into the Manteca Hall of Fame.

The dinner and induction ceremonies for the Hall of Fame takes place Saturday, May 14, at the Manteca Senior Center, 295 Cherry Lane. Tickets are $40 and are available at the Manteca Boys & Girls Club, 545 Alameda St. or by calling 239-KIDS.

Other members of the Class of 2011 are Jack Kelley, at-large; Leo Omlin, agriculture; Jessie Marinas, art; Don I. Asher, government; Margo Young, health care; Bill Jones, education; Kathryn Aartman-Weed, community service; and Norm Knodt, business.

Widmer is being inducted for athletics.

Widmer was a 1966 Manteca High graduate where he was an outstanding student-athlete in both wrestling and football. He was the most valuable player of the Valley Oak League during his senior football season and also Manteca High‘s Outstanding Lineman. He was also named to the First team for Northern California and played in the North-South Shriner game. He won back-to-back Northern California wrestling titles. During his senior season he was undefeated and named as the most outstanding wrestling in the Sac-Joaquin Section at 191 pounds.

During his 67-match winning streak his junior and senior year he had only four points scored against him.

Widmer was recruited by numerous colleges his senior year including Stanford where he was recruited by then coach Bill Walsh. He was also recruited by Oregon State, Utah State, UCLA, Colorado State, and the Air Force Academy. He accepted a full ride scholarship to UCLA.

Widmer started for the Bruins his sophomore year and started as linebacker his junior and senior years where he played against OJ Simpson.

He also wrestled the years for UCLA. He took third in the Pacific 8 meet and competed in the 1970 National Collegiate Wrestling Tournament.

In 1975 he helped start the Manteca Cowboys youth football program and coached until 1979. He coached the second annual South County Police Bowl on Dec. 20, 1980. Manteca Police won 7-6.

In 1989, he coached defense for the Ripon High varsity. Jeff Liotard was a player. He took the team to the Sac-Joaquin Section Class A championship game where the Indians lost to Bernicia 21-14.

From 2006 to 2009, Widmer served as a volunteer where he barbecued at the snack bar at the Lathrop Steelers home games.

He continues to support Sierra High athletics.

Widmer throughout his life competed in Swiss style wrestling through the San Joaquin Valley Swiss Club in Ripon. He represented America and won a championship. He competed in Switzerland in 1972 and 1980. He stopped wrestling at age 36 when he injured his knee.