Nov. 29, 2012
Albert Sye wrestler from 1971-74, earned his degree in Social Studies and moved on to become a Social Studies teacher and principal, as well as a high school wrestling coach. As an athlete, he was inducted into numerous hall of fames as a coach and athlete including The University of Arizona Athletics Hall of Fame. Al is also an also an author and soon will be publishing his first book, The Reversal; written as his inspirational story on how he drastically worked hard to change his life. Currently Al serves on both the Pima County Foster Care Board, and on our very own A-Club Committee. He is very appreciative of the University of Arizona, “Arizona gave me a valuable education, allowed me to use my athletic talent to get a scholarship, and gave me the experience and wrestling skills needed to gain national recognition for my talents”.!
What are you currently working on and involved in?
I stay involved with Arizona Athletics and serve on the A-Club Committee. I also am helping out at Hiaki High School located near Casino Del Sol, working as a specialist to help the kids and teachers as well as the principle. In addition to the A-Club Committee I sit on the Pima County Foster Care Board.
Can you tell us about your career and the journey you took to get where you are now?
I completed my degree in social studies; I was a social studies teacher and wrestling coach at the high school level for a total of 17 years. I taught locally here in Tucson at Saguaro and Catalina High School. I also coached in Arizona and in New Jersey and was inducted into 7 hall of fames for coaching and as an athlete inducted into four hall of fames in New Jersey; three here Tucson. Lastly, I was inducted into one National Junior College hall of fame.
I made a career move from teaching into school administration; I held an associate principle position in Delaware, then headed to Chicago as a principle and assistant superintendent for a 140 year old high school. This high school is nationally recognized and I was honored to work there for 7 years. Post Chicago I moved to Michigan City in Indiana to work as their principle. After that I headed back to Chicago to sit on the school board. In addition to this work experience I moved to Atlanta to take a principle position at St. Michael’s private catholic school on a Navajo reservation, that school was also very old, when I worked there it was 110 years old! This school was recognized for successfully getting 90% of their students committed to college, some at nationally ranked schools such as Yale, Stanford, etc. I then finished my career in Oakland at Skyline High School where Tom Hanks attended when he was in school.
You had many accomplishments as a wrestler here at Arizona; can you explain the awards you earned?
I was 2nd in the nation in Junior College, then came to Arizona and was 4th in the nation in wrestling within the NCAA. I also was a two-time WAC Conference Champion. Additionally, I was unscored upon in those two championship years at Arizona and finally in 2001 I was inducted into the University of Arizona’s Sports Hall of Fame.
You mentioned you have been working on publishing a book, can you tell us about your book and your inspiration?
The book is titled The Reversal which is a term for a “wrestling technique”. I want to pass on my story on how I changed my life around to turn everything negative into a positive. In my book I also touch on my experiences as a professional educator.
How has the University of Arizona helped you on your journey as a wrestler and school administrator?
The Arizona mostly importantly gave me an education. I was able to use my athletic talent to get a scholarship, expand my learning, knowledge and experience; and at the same time develop my wrestling skills to the next level which gained national recognition. Earning a degree gave me more opportunity to help others around me succeed and get educated. My undergrad at Arizona paved the way for me to complete two masters, one in Secondary Education, and the other in Educational Administration. My degree also gave me an opportunity to take students to South Africa and China on two separate occasions. This was an educational journey which would have never been possible without the advancement in my career all thanks to my degree.
You are a very inspiring person and have accomplished a great deal in your lifetime thus far, any words of advice to other letterwinners?
The main thing is to help and serve others, “pushing up people” push up people, when you push up people they take you up with them; this is very important, just do good work, help people and don’t worry about bragging, god will take care of that. You will be blessed for the good work.