Traffic map
Article posted: 4/17/2013 5:00 AM

'You gotta wanna' worked miracles

  • Article
text size: AAA

'You gotta wanna' worked miracles

Bob Riek was my wrestling coach in 1964 at Maine East High School. His favorite saying was, "Son, you gotta wanna." To a kid in need of a father figure at the time, I couldn't have asked for a better one. I was never a great wrestler, and when I'd look up for help, it would always be, "Son, you gotta wanna."


College was a tough time. Always got good grades but struggled with a lot of other issues. Ended up taking me six years to get a degree as a health teacher. But whenever I started thinking about giving up, there was always this voice in my head saying, "Son, you gotta wanna"

When I graduated and got a job, I went to Maine West where he was working at the time and told him exactly what I've related here, and thanked him. Nice moment.

One of my first acts as a teacher was to make a banner for my classroom with "You gotta wanna" on it. Twenty-one years later, I was nominated for Teacher of the Month by a girl from that first year. She struggled like me for years, but got through college, and law school, and finally became a district attorney. She said she owed it all to "You gotta wanna."

There have been well over 10,000 students since then. Each one left with a little piece of Bob Riek. His passing made me realize that all I've done and had, and have now, I might owe to those three little words. Like that song, "I just wish I would have told him, in the living years."

Wherever he's going now, I'm positive he'll get there because of those same three words he lived by. Godspeed, coach.

Ray Mathis


Comments ()
We are now using Facebook comments to offer a more inclusive, social and constructive discussion. Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.

This article filed under

Latest Video


Most Commented
    SOSEScript: generic_rss failed executing with the following error: Error on line 101 position 3: Object required: 'rssXML'
See today's top 50 articles
Top Jobs

    View all Top Jobs Place a job ad



    • Newspaper next section - Newspaper next section Report card checker - report card checker
    • Dh innovation award 2 - Dh innovation award 2 Zillow /real estate page
    • Discuss refer On Guard series
    • Newspaper archives -- Monday or anyday Mike North



    Connect with a business or service in your area fast. First select a town, then enter a search term or choose one of the listed popular searches:

    Don't see your town listed? Visit our full directory to begin your search.