The last four decades have been busy for Lucy and Randall Stowe, two longtime York County residents.
Since Lucy, 64, and Randall, 66, got married on Independence Day in 1975, they have hosted more than 30 European exchange students and volunteered with and coached more than 1,600 children in youth wrestling clubs and tournaments.
In April, the couple’s dedication of many hours, days and weeks to a single sport — wrestling — earned them a joint induction into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
They are the third couple in the Virginia chapter to receive a joint recognition, Lucy Stowe said.
“It teaches kids how to achieve their goals,” Randall said.
Lucy and Randall are both from Danville, but they met while attending Danville Community College in the early 1970s.
Both have experience in wrestling — Lucy through casual roughhousing and Randall while on teams in grade school — but found their place in coaching and volunteering.
Lucy said she believes some of Randall’s lifelong interest in coaching comes from his personal experience with wrestling when he was in high school. Randall’s coach was drafted into the Armed Forces in 1970 during the Vietnam War, and the school was unable to get a replacement.
Randall attempted to coach the team himself, but the school stopped him because there was no adult coach. He was unable to wrestle in his senior year of high school.
“He has tried not to have other children have that disappointment,” Lucy said.
Randall’s first true coaching experience came at the age of 19 at the former Dan River Schoolfield Recreation Center. Four adults has signed up to coach a football team, which Randall’s youngest brother was on, but left one by one.
The team fell under Randall’s full-time guidance, despite the fact he was also working as a hospital orderly and going to college.
In York County, Randall has coached and worked with more than 2,000 children since 1983, including about 1,600 wrestlers and more than 400 soccer and football players. He has also been a referee.
He has also worked full time at the Norfolk Naval Rework Facility and Newport News Shipyard as a professional engineer. Randall retired in March.
Lucy has operated as a bracket matchmaker for meets, program booklet editor for tournaments, secretary and more. She is also the “team mom.”
Over the years, the couple have hosted more than 30 international exchange students and also introduced them to the sport.
Above all, Randall aims to help children develop a love and respect for wrestling instead of focusing only on becoming champions — because without the love, youth won’t stay with the sport, he said.
“You get a lot of kids who don’t know the limits on things, what they can and cannot do,” Randall said. “Some are afraid to push because people are always yelling at them… You can get out wrestling and push and nobody’s screaming at you to stop that.”
Getting the recognition
To qualify for the National Wrestling Hall of Fame recognition, the couple needed to send in applications listing their experience and qualifications and letters of recommendation.
While the application only needed a few letters, the couple received at least 10 to send, Lucy said.
They are one of six Hall of Fame nominees inducted this year from Virginia.
In the last few years, day-to-day life has changed — but it’s still just as busy.
Looking ahead, the couple still plans to keep wrestling in their lives, but the focus is more on family. Lucy’s 88-year-old father moved in with the family, and they have four grandchildren — three of whom are toddlers.
“Their grandfather loves to tickle and play and everything,” Lucy said of Randall. “We wound up keeping two of them every day for their mom to work.”