Gary Quintana, a wrestling star at Selma High and Fresno State in the late 1980s and early 1990s who went on to coach in the sport, died Thursday of an apparent heart attack.
He was 45.
Mr. Quintana passed away shortly after working out with his nephew and youth wrestlers at the Selma Youth Wrestling Club.
“It’s a big loss for the wrestling community,” former longtime Fresno State coach Dennis DeLiddo said. “He probably didn’t have an enemy in the world.
“Nobody disliked Gary. He always had a smile on his face.”
Mr. Quintana twice qualified for the NCAA Tournament and won multiple conference championships at Fresno State.
As a freshman, he reached No. 2 in the national rankings for his weight class.
But he arguably made an even larger impact at the high school level – both as a wrestler and a coach
An All-American at Selma, Mr. Quintana was a two-time state finalist and three-time medalist.
During his senior year, he won a state championship along with his cousin Nicky Quintana, while being coached by their uncle Nick and leading the Bears to a fourth-place team finish.
In 2013, Mr. Quintana was inducted into the Selma Athletic Hall of Fame.
“We’re like a wrestling family,” Mr. Quintana told the Selma Enterprise on the occasion of his induction. “Wrestling is pretty big in our family.”
Following his career as an athlete, Mr. Quintana began coaching locally.
Mr. Quintana was serving as the coach at Granite Ridge Middle School. He previously was head coach at Clovis North and an assistant at Clovis West and Bullard.
“Wrestling has helped mold me into the person I am today,” Mr. Quintana was quoted by the Enterprise in 2013. “The successes I’ve had are all due to the place where I’m from and the people I was around. I wouldn’t take anything back for the world. I would do it all again.”
A moment of silence was held in honor of Mr. Quintana before Clovis North’s football game Friday night.
Mr. Quintana is survived by his daughter, Aryanna, and grandson Judah Ryan Garcia, both of Clovis.