Dec. 20, 2013
OTHELLO, Wash. - Former University of Wyoming wrestling coach Scott Bliss died Dec. 12 at the age of 56.
Bliss was the head coach at Wyoming for two seasons, from 1987-89, and compiled a dual record of 16-10. He coached two UW wrestlers to All-America status in 1988, including Joe DeCamillis and Craig Walters, and was named the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for 1987-88.
His Cowboy teams won the WAC Championship in 1988 and placed second in the conference in 1989. Seven Pokes won WAC titles under Bliss, and he coached the Pokes to 21st in the nation in the NCAA Championships in 1988. During his time at UW, 12 student-athletes qualified for the NCAA Championships.
Bliss was known as one of the great wrestlers produced by the state of Washington, in which he won a high school individual title in 1975. In 1980, wrestling for Oregon, he was second in the nation at the NCAA Championships in 1980. He also was a member of the 1981 USA World Team. Upon graduating from Oregon in 1980, he became the youngest collegiate head wrestling coach in the country at the University of Montana. While at Montana, he continued to pursue his own wrestling career, with his eyes on the 1984 Olympic team. Scott made the 1981 USA World team and competed in the World Championships in Oslo, Norway. By 1984, the demands of coaching led him to retire from his own career and focus on developing the talents of those he coached.
Born July 26, 1957, to Fred and Nancy Bliss in Moses Lake, Wash., he is survived by his sons, Jacob Bliss and Nolan Bliss, and his former wife Cindy Richman, all living in Spokane, Wash. He was part of a close family of siblings, in-laws, and nephews and nieces, including: Kathryn Bliss (Joel, daughter Emily), Sandy, Ore.; David Bliss (Deborah, sons Richard and Mathew), Everett, Wash.; John Bliss (Maria, daughter Hannah, sons Sam and Andy), Mercer Island, Wash. Bliss grew up in Othello, Wash., and attended the University of Oregon, where he met Cindy Wheeler. They married in 1980.
His collegiate coaching career spanned more than 10 years at the University of Montana, University of Wyoming and Oregon State University. In the early 1990s, he turned his attention to teaching and coaching at the high school level, where he lead Auburn High School in Auburn, Wash., to two state championships. He concluded his teaching and coaching career at Mead High School in Spokane.
A leader and innovator in promoting the sport of amateur wrestling, he founded the Washington "Dream Duals" which annually pit the top teams in a state championship dual meet format. Bliss was also a leader in introducing women to the sport of wrestling, welcoming girls to his Auburn High School team. Today, there is a separate state championship for girls, the founding of which can be traced back his work at Auburn.
A memorial service will be hosted at the Othello First Presbyterian Church on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 11 a.m.