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Prep Sports: L-B’s track and CC coach Wagner dies at age 65

Veteran Liberty-Benton girls track and cross country coach Pat Wagner died Wednesday at age of 65.

Wagner was responsible for turning both girls programs he coached at Liberty-Benton into statewide powers.

The Arlington native got his coaching start at Spencerville where he served as boys track coach from 1972-75. He moved on to Thornville Sheridan (1976) and Berne-Union (1977-79) before coming back to the area to coach at Liberty-Benton.

Wagner was L-B’s head football coach from 1979-82 compiling a 14-26 overall record.

But it was the following fall when Wagner found his niche taking over the cross country program at the school.

He coached the Eagles’ girls cross country program to three straight state titles from 1984-86, and another, in 1996. Wagner’s teams also brought home the state runner-up trophy five times and placed in the top five at state three more times.

Wagner took charge of the L-B girls track program in 1982. The following year, the Eagles won their first of 14 straight Blanchard Valley Conference championships under his guidance. After back-to-back crowns by Cory-Rawson in 1998-99, Liberty-Benton has won the last 15 BVC girls track titles.

Wagner’s track teams won numerous district and regional track championships along with several individual state championships during his tenure.

He was also inducted into both the Hancock Sports and Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fames.

Visitation will be held Sunday from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at Crates Funeral Home in Arlington. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at St. Marks United Methodist Church in Findlay, where visitation will be held one hour prior to the services. Pastor Mark Hollinger will officiate and interment will follow in Arlington Cemetery.

Memorials may be given to the Sara Gast Pat Wagner Memorial Fund in care of the Community Foundation. Wagner’s complete obituary information is on page A5 of today’s edition.

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