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Willis: Centaurus teacher Buffo to be honored at Adams State

Ron Buffo, ASC
Courtesy photo
Centaurus teacher Ron Buffo in his days as a member of the national-champion Adams State wrestling team.

When considering the marquee athletes at Centaurus, few ever think to actually look inside the classroom.

The guy in the building with perhaps the most to crow about is Ron Buffo, a retired to teacher who comes to Centaurus for about three hours a day to help upperclassmen recover credits in time for graduation.

Buffo, who was a fulltime social studies teacher at Centaurus from 1978-98 and then at Monarch until 2005, is among those being inducted to the Adams State College Hall of Fame on Friday night, where he was a part of a wrestling dynasty.

“I’m thrilled about getting to see some of the guys who I haven’t seen in so long,” said Buffo, who will be accompanied by several family members. “I have stayed in contact with a lot of them, though, because I’m writing a book about the history of the sport down there.”

Adams State won the NAIA national title in 1972, ’73, ’75 and ’76, and Buffo was a member of the first three. His heftiest contribution was in ’75, when he finished fifth in the nation at 167 pounds.

Buffo also was a running back on the Adams State football team, a requirement to help him reap a full-ride scholarship. He also served as the wrestling coach at Centaurus from 1978-83, where he helped produce the Warriors’ first individual champion, Paul Razo.

Buffo’s mother, brother, wife, two children and grandson will accompany him to Alamosa. Of note, his brother, Donnie, also was a member of the Adams State football team as an offensive lineman. His daughter, Amanda, is 36 and lives in Louisville. His son, Bill, is 34 and is making the trip from Chicago.

“My children have always been kind of aware of it,” Buffo said. “My mom saw my brother and I play all kinds of football and watched me wrestle. My dad passed away three years ago and they were huge, huge fans. They were a big part of it.”

A graduate of now-defunct Louisville High School in 1971, Buffo was a high school state champ at 167 pounds. After moving on to Adams State, he became so enriched in the history of wrestling (dating from long before he was a part of it) that it persuaded him to get started on the book.

Many individual national champions were on the dynasty teams and have compelling stories. Chuck Jean, for instance, won two national titles at Iowa State, entered the military, then came back to win two at Adams State in 1972 and ’73.

Three of the Adams State teams were placed in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in 2007, and now these title-winning squads will enter the school’s HOF.

“I’d never get into any Hall of Fame on individual merit, so the whole team thing is really important to me,” Buffo said.

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