The clich might be accurate in this case: Dick Bliss has probably forgotten more about high school wrestling than most people will ever learn.

After spending 44 years in charge of Aurora wrestling, however, Bliss decided to call it a career.

Members of the Aurora wrestling community expressed shock Sept. 10 when word got around that Bliss was retiring, effective immediately.

Any coach who spends 44 years in one position casts a long shadow and Bliss' legacy with the Greenmen will last for decades.

Bliss' wrestlers were known for their achievement. He coached his teams to nine individual state titles and also won the 1995 Division II state team title.

Even with the school's recent move up to Division I, there was rarely a year Aurora didn't have wrestlers competing at the state tournament or finishing as All-Ohioans.

Bliss also was an active member in the Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association. He helped form the OHSWCA State Duals, which were the forerunner to the current state dual tournament.

Bliss was inducted into the OHSWCA Hall of Fame in 1997 and will be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in October.

Although he graduated from Eastlake North High School, Bliss was "Mr. Aurora" for decades, as he also served as the high school's athletic director for 27 years.

Bliss notes his program is in "great shape," as he plans to move to Florida in October.

That may be, but with out the gruff voice and solid guidance of the man known by his wrestlers and coaches as "Barney Rubble," Aurora wrestling -- and Northeast Ohio wrestling -- will have a void this winter and for years to come.