Beginning as an outstanding Rockland County high school athlete from Spring Valley, Sol “Spike” Israel went on to become one of the most respected and accomplished wrestling officials in Rockland County, and the United States. His career as an athlete, coach, and referee has spanned over 40 years. Spike graduated from Spring Valley High School in 1946, earning 10 varsity letters. Along the way he was selected as a three time All County football player, a three time Rockland County finalist in wrestling and, in 1946 was the 154 lb. county champion. Being a three sport athlete, Spike also lettered in
baseball three times.
Upon graduation from Spring Valley High School, Spike enrolled at Bergen County Community College in New Jersey, and played on the varsity football team. The following year, Spike transferred to Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, and played varsity football for three years – 1949, 50, 51. Spike is a proud member of the Stetson University Hall of Fame
as starter on their 1951 Championship football team. He also managed to make the varsity golf team in 1950 and 51.
After Spike graduated from Stetson in 1952, he spent some time in Florida and Georgia as an assistant football coach. In 1959 Spike returned to the Northeast and his hometown of Spring Valley to teach and coach in New Jersey. Spike
coached football, golf, and wrestling at a variety of schools in Bergen County. As a football coach Spike had the good fortune to coach four futureNFL players: Jack Tatum of the Oakland Raiders being the most notable. In addition, in
1981 Spike was selected as the Bergen County Golf “Coach of the Year”.
It was in the early 1960s that Spike began his career as a wrestling official. He started out officiating Rockland and Bergen County high school matches and soon became the most sought after referee in the area, especially for crucial matches. Spike worked many Rockland County and Section Nine tournaments and has also officiated at the New York State Public High School Championship Tournament.
Spike’s wrestling officiating did not stop at the local high school level; he moved on the the collegiate level and had an outstanding career. As a member of the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Officials Association, Spike worked the Eastern States Wrestling Championship Tournament for over 15 years. Spike also officiated the Big 8 and the New York State
Collegiate wrestling tournaments, and was elected “chief official” by his peers at both of these tournaments. Three times during his career, Spike was selected to officiate at the N.C.A.A. Division I Wrestling Championships.
In 1989 Spike was inducted into the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Officials Association Hall of Fame. Spike has since retired to DeLand, Florida, home of Stetson University, his alma mater.