Godwin Nyama, a former PIAA state champion, Brashear High School alumnus and one of the best wrestlers in City League history died on Friday night. He was 27 years old. Nyama’s high school head coach Nate Geller told the Tribune-Review that the cause of death is believed to be drug overdose.
Known for his relentless work ethic and inspired by his sister, Makisa — who was one of just a handful of female City League wrestlers when Godwin entered high school — the Mt. Washington native improved his record in each of his four years at Brashear.
During his decorated high school wrestling career, Nyama went from novice to star and amassed a 132-19 record, with ten of those losses suffered during his freshman year. After winning the City League four times, he capped his time as a Bull by going 41-2 and winning the 2012 PIAA State Championship, becoming the first City League wrestler to do so.
“In a sense, he put City League wrestling on the map,” Geller, who coached Brashear wrestling for 13 years from 1999-2012, said. “There were only a couple of wrestlers over the years that had had any success.”
Nyama’s death comes just six months after the death of Micahel Racciato, another PIAA champion wrestler. Racciato also died of an accidental overdose in Lehigh County on Christmas Day last year.
Nyama committed to Pitt during his senior year and competed for one season with the Panthers, during which he went 2-8 at 125 pounds, before transferring to Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. After his wrestling career was over, Nyama remained committed to improving City League wrestling and wanted to help former wrestlers battling mental illness, according to Westinghouse coach and Nyama’s former mentor, Chaney Lewis.
“He spent quite a bit of time giving back to some youth programs and teaching the young kids,” Lewis told the Tribune-Review. “Everybody knows Godwin. He did a lot for the sport.”