Tony Ramsay became a father figure to Roy Millar while helping the Pen High Secondary student become one of Canada’s top wrestlers.
Millar, who returned from nationals placing fifth and second in Greco Roman, praised Ramsay for everything he has done.
“I think next to my parents, he’s one of the biggest influences on me,” said Millar. “He has motivated me to do so much better in the sport and better in school as well. This year it was just basically me on the team. He was coming to practice every single day to train me.”
Ramsay has enjoyed great satisfaction in what Millar has done.
“I have two boys and a daughter,” said Ramsay, adding that Millar is like another son to him. “Very nice to see him have success. I feel really proud when he has success.”
Millar, who will attend Simon Fraser University in the fall, said he learned a lot from working with Ramsay. A national champion in Grade 10, Millar said the two learned to work together after being with each other for so long.
“Tony knows that I’m a very auditory learner,” said Millar, who in Grade 10 earned a brown belt in judo. “He shows me in practice and explains it too, which helps a lot. He’s adapted to me and I have adapted to him.”
Ramsay’s own accomplishments in the sport are an indication he knows what it takes to go far as a wrestler. From 1982 to ’88, Ramsay was a member of the Canadian national team. During that time, he was also an all-American in ’82 and ’83, an Olympic team alternate in ’84 as well as a National NAIA Champion All-American. In ’85, he won a bronze medal at the Senior Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. Millar described Ramsay, who is also involved as an assistant coach with the South Okanagan Flames lacrosse team, as an intelligent guy. He possesses the ability to motivate people.
“I remember talking to him before the final (in Grade 10) and he said, this guy has nothing on you,” said Millar. “He’s really good at making me feel confident before a match. He knows what to say to make me wrestle like that.
“He’s a very technical coach,” continued Millar, adding that Ramsay stresses working on the basics. “Heading to university, I feel confident with my skill set.”
“I really enjoyed coaching him,” said Ramsay. “It’s been very nice to see him have the success that he’s had. He’s one of those athletes that comes along and a coaches dream that you tell him to do this and he does more.”
Ramsay has always found Millar to be positive and feels his student is a great role model.
“He’s very upbeat, always a smile on his face and wanting to do more.”
Of course, they have also felt disappointment together, which recently happened at nationals in Windsor, Ont. April 8 to 9. Millar lost his first match to Gurgandeep Toor, who he beat two years ago to become a national champion.
“Roy did not have his best match,” said Ramsay. “He won the first round and then in the second round, he got pinned. Even though that should have been the championship match, you have to be ready mentally for every single time he steps on the mat. It was unfortunate.”
“I wasn’t too pleased with the tournament, with how I wrestled,” added Millar. “I haven’t been pinned in a long time in Canada too, so that was frustrating. I feel like I’ve had a good season. I’m not too down on it.”
This year, Millar won an Okanagan tournament in Kamloops, placed third in the University of Calgary Junior Open (university athletes), first in the Simon Fraser War on Floor (Most Outstanding Wrestler), third in Oroville Collegiate tournament and first in the Port Alberni Invitational (Most Outstanding Wrestler), Zone Qualifiers for Provincials and BC High School Provincials 74kg (Most Outstanding Wrestler).