As a Training and Conversion Analyst, Ross Halford is a longtime MACC employee who is known as our subject matter expert for the plant maintenance features in Customer Master. He’s also a subject matter expert on a much different topic…high school wrestling and specifically the sport in Nebraska. Ross just isn’t the expert for the building…he’s one of the most knowledgeable wrestling experts in the state and will be inducted into the Nebraska Scholastic Wrestling Coaches Association’s (NSWCA) Hall of Fame this June.
His hall of fame induction comes for his contribution to the sport through Huskermat, which is a brand Ross started in 1999 to provide information and recruiting news to wrestling fans. Through a website, and now a Twitter account with 8,500 followers, Huskermat is THE source for Nebraska wrestling information for athletes, coaches, college recruiters, and fans.
Huskermat’s large following makes it impossible to know who nominated Ross, but he is thankful for the honor.
Ross said, “I really don’t know who nominated me. It’s hard to focus too much on the Hall of Fame when we’re right in the middle of the season. I really appreciate whoever did though. There’s nothing like respect from your peers.”
He has worked hard to earn that respect and his dedication to wrestling is evident. While Ross said coverage of the sport has gotten easier over the years thanks to improving technology, he still puts between 8,000 and 10,000 miles on his car annually attending meets in Nebraska. Occasionally, he attends national meets as well. Through the hours of work in the evenings and weekends and the miles on the road, it’s clear covering wrestling is a labor of love for Ross.
“It’s such an intense sport,” he said. “It’s incredibly rewarding to see kids put in so much time and effort to achieve their goals.”
Ross’ love for wrestling started when he was a wrestler himself in high school. If you’ve ever participated in wrestling, you understand it can be a physically grueling endeavor. It’s the toughness of the sport that appeals to him.
“Wrestling is the oldest, toughest, and hardest sport that exists,” Ross said. “I like surrounding myself with people who are tough.”
That toughness Ross speaks of is evident throughout wrestling and the best example he can recall during his Huskermat days is the story of Doyle Trout. He is a talented wrestler from Centennial, Nebraska who lost a leg in a car accident. Trout recovered from the accident and continued on with his wrestling career as he is now wrestling at the University of Wyoming.
“Ninety-nine percent of people in that situation would have never been able to do what he’s done,” Ross said.
The story of Doyle Trout brings to mind one of the lessons Ross said he has learned over the years of covering wrestling.
As wrestling legend Dan Gable famously said, “After you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.”
With the toughness and tenacity of a wrestler, Ross continues to build connections in the wrestling community and grow Huskermat. In 2018 he wrote a book titled Matsider exploring the history of wrestling in Nebraska and he has another project covering football recruiting. It’s safe to say Ross is a busy guy.
If you schedule Customer Master training or attend MBTC, there is a good chance you’ll have Ross as one of your MACC trainers. Be sure to ask him any Customer Master questions you have as he is truly a wealth of information. And if you were a wrestler, or you’re a fan of wrestling, be sure to let Ross know as he enjoys good conversation on the toughest of sports.
Bobbi Jo Lockhart