New Dan Gable Museum award to honor wrestling legend Bob Siddens

WATERLOO, Iowa—The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum will recognize the accomplishments of Bob Siddens with a new award.

The Bob Siddens Iowa High School Coaching Excellence Award will recognize a current Iowa high school wrestling coach who exemplifies the high standards that Bob Siddens set during his coaching career at Waterloo West.

The inaugural award will be given at the 2012 Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions on April 14, 2012. Siddens will be the first recipient of the award.

Siddens is arguably the greatest high school wrestling coach in American history. His 27 year coaching career (1950-1977) included 11 team state championships, a 327-26-3 dual meet record, and a streak of 88 consecutive dual meet wins. Siddens also coached nine individual NCAA champions and one Olympic champion.

“When Bob Siddens was the coach he had over 100 guys out for wrestling,” said Dan Gable, namesake of the museum and a wrestler under Siddens at West Waterloo. “In fact, the whole school wanted to come out when he was there.”

Siddens will be honored alongside the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame of Iowa Class of 2012. This year’s class includes Hugo Otopalik, Dale Bahr, Kelly Ward, Ken Snyder, and the 1950 NCAA championship team from Iowa State Teachers College (now Northern Iowa). Denna Massey will receive the Russ Smith Community Impact Award.

Contact the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum for information on attending the induction banquet and for a full schedule of events.

John Bradshaw Layfield and Bill Apter to receive special awards from Hall of Fame

WATERLOO—John Bradshaw Layfield and Bill Apter have been selected to receive special awards during 2012 George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction. The Hall of Fame is located inside the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa.

Layfield will receive the Lou Thesz Award. The Lou Thesz Award is given to an individual in wrestling who has taken the skills of the sport into the realm of public service. Layfield, known as Bradshaw or JBL, has had a successful career as a professional wrestler and as a television commentator.

Apter will receive the Jim Melby Award. The Jim Melby Award recognizes excellence in professional wrestling journalism. Apter is best known for his work with Pro Wrestling Illustrated.

Kurt Angle and Don Curtis to enter Hall of Fame

WATERLOO–Kurt Angle and Don Curtis have been selected as the 2012 inductees into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is located inside the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa.

The selection committee includes all living Hall of Fame members, all living Frank Gotch Award winners, and a select group of wrestling historians. The selection committee votes for one living and one posthumous inductee.

Induction into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame includes substantial impact on professional wrestling, general respect within the profession, and a strong amateur wrestling background.

“I can’t think of someone more qualified than Kurt Angle to enter the Hall of Fame,” said Hall of Famer Gerry Brisco. “He won gold at every level. Don Curtis was a great man and an outstanding wrestler. He spent his entire life bettering wrestling. Both are great additions.”

Angle was a two-time NCAA champion for Clarion University and a 1996 Olympic champion. He joins Dan Hodge and Dick Hutton as distinguished members at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla., and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo. Angle, one of the biggest superstars in professional wrestling history, currently wrestles for TNA.

Curtis (known by his original name of Don Beitelman in college before it was legally changed to Don Curtis) was a member of the University at Buffalo wrestling team. He was team captain in 1949 and 1950. Curtis was NWA tag team champion with Mark Lewin during the 1950s and 1960s. He died on March 6, 2008.

Four special awards are given during induction weekend as well. Special award winners will be announced on November 14, 2011.

Hall of Fame weekend is July 13-14, 2012, in Waterloo, Iowa.

Wrestling families recognized by National Wrestling Hall of Fame during NCAA tournament

The unique connection between wrestling and family was the theme of a special presentation at this year’s NCAA Division I wrestling tournament in Philadelphia. The National Wrestling Hall of Fame presented its Family Ties exhibit for the first time on Thursday, March 17 during NCAA Fan Fest.

Eleven prominent wrestling families were recognized during a stage presentation at Lincoln Financial Field in front of hundreds of wrestling fans. Five families participated in a panel discussion about family and its connection to wrestling.

“I want to thank those very special family members who participated in the Family Ties Fan Fest program,” said Lee Roy Smith, executive director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. “They have made great contributions to the sport of wrestling. Everyone in attendance appreciated them for sharing the many positive values that wrestling gives to families.”

2012 Glen Brand Hall of Fame class selected

WATERLOO, Iowa — Three former NCAA champions, a legendary coach, and a historic championship team will be inducted into the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame of Iowa on April 14, 2012. The Hall of Fame is located inside the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo.

The Class of 2012 includes Dale Bahr, Kelly Ward, Ken Snyder, Hugo Otopalik, and the 1950 NCAA championship team from Iowa State Teachers College.

Bahr was an NCAA champion and three-time All-American for Iowa State. He place second at the NCAA tournament in 1966, third in 1967, and first in 1968. Bahr coached the University of Michigan wrestling program from 1978 through 1999, compiling a 221-119-6 dual meet record.

Ward was an NCAA champion and three-time NCAA championship finalist for Iowa State. He placed second at the NCAA tournament in 1977, second in 1978, and first in 1979. His overall career college record was 126-10-2.

Snyder was a two-time Division II NCAA champion for Northern Iowa, winning titles in 1974 and 1975. He was also a two-time Division I All-American for the Panthers those same years. Snyder’s career college record at UNI was 95-15-3.

Otopalik was the head wrestling coach at Iowa State from 1924 through 1953. His teams compiled a 159-66-5 dual meet record. Otopalik coached Iowa State to an NCAA team championship (considered unofficial because no team scores were kept) in 1933. He also coached Glen Brand to an NCAA title in 1948. Brand is the namesake of the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame of Iowa.

Otopalik passed away in 1953.

In addition to the four individual inductees, one Iowa high school or college championship team was selected for induction into the Hall of Fame. The Iowa State Teachers College team (now Northern Iowa) that won the 1950 NCAA championship was chosen by the selection committee.

The 13-member selection committee includes 10 past Glen Brand Hall of Fame inductees and three members of the media. Committee members are Les Anderson, Bobby Douglas, Jim Duschen, Dan Gable, Jim Gibbons, Tim Johnson, Randy Lewis, Jim Miller, Bill Nelson, and Chuck Yagla. Members of the media include Jim Nelson (Waterloo Courier), Andy Hamilton (Des Moines Register), and Mike Finn (WIN Magazine).

“Our selection committee does an excellent job,” said Kyle Klingman, director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum. “This year’s hall of fame class is outstanding.”

The Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame was established in 2002 to honor the people who have made an impact on the sport on a national level, or who have done extraordinary work in the State of Iowa. The hall recognizes native-born Iowans, and those who achieved their fame while wrestling or coaching for an Iowa college. This is the eleventh class.

Denna Massey of Council Bluffs will be presented with the Russ Smith Community Impact Award at the induction ceremony. The award is given to a person demonstrating exceptional local impact on wrestling within the state of Iowa.

Jay Roberts, member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Board of Governors, passes away at the age of 69

Jay Roberts, a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame executive committee, died on June 22, 2011, in Waterloo, Iowa. He was 69 years old.

Roberts attended the University of Iowa on partial scholarship. He graduated in 1964 earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology and political science. Roberts lettered three years in wrestling (1962, 1963, and 1964). He also lettered twice in football.

He then attended Law School at the University of Iowa where he received his law degree. He began practicing law in Waterloo, Iowa, in 1968. He has been closely associated with the sport of wrestling since graduation.

“Jay was always willing to lend his expertise and he was always eager to be involved,” said Dan Gable, head wrestling coach at the University of Iowa from 1977 to 1997. “Beyond his active help with Iowa wrestling and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, I consider him a close friend.”

Roberts was a member of the International Wrestling Institute and Museum board when it opened in 1998 in Newton, Iowa. He continued to serve on the board when the museum moved to Waterloo, Iowa, in 2007 and became the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum.

Roberts joined the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Board of Governors in 2009 when the Dan Gable Museum merged with the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum in Stillwater, Okla.

“It was our belief and commitment to the Dan Gable Museum that brought our friendship together,” said Bob Buckley, a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame executive committee from Waterloo. “Not only will his commitment to wrestling be missed but I will really miss his sense of humor. I grew to appreciate his friendship.”

Visitation will be held at Hagarty Waychoff Funeral Home located on 300 West Ridgeway Avenue in Waterloo, Iowa, from 4-8 on Sunday, June 26.

A viewing will be at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 27 at Heartland Vineyard Church located on 1405 Greenhill Road in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The funeral will follow at 10 a.m.

“On the Mat’ archives now available

Each week the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum hosts a local radio show called “On the Mat.” show can be heard live each Wednesday at 5 p.m. CST by tuning into 1650 The Fan locally or online at www.kcnzam.com. Archives of the show are now available online at themat.com. To access past shows click here.

Mick Foley and Terry Funk highlighted on special DVD set

A new two-disc DVD set featuring the 2010 George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame weekend is now available for purchase.

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum, in conjunction with Pro Wrestling Torch and Killer Penguin Productions, created this special DVD set to preserve a historic weekend at the Dan Gable Museum.

Disc one includes the entire George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction ceremony, with acceptance speeches from Mick Foley, Rene Goulet, Paul Vachon, Danny Hodge, and Terry Funk.

“Terry Funk’s induction speech alone makes the DVD set worth having,” said Kyle Klingman, director of the Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa. “Terry talked about his role in professional wrestling and how the sport has evolved into entertainment. Anyone who respects professional wrestling will appreciate all the speakers.”

The second disc is a round table discussion filmed in the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame following the induction ceremony. Brian Hoops of Pro Wrestling Torch moderated a discussion about wrestling territories with several professional wrestling stars.

Included in the round table discussion were Mick Foley, Paul Vachon, Baron Von Raschske, Bob Roop, Rene Goulet, and Al Campbell.

“To sit and interact with these wrestling legends, to listen to their stories and memories of the long forgotten wrestling territories, made this part of the weekend extra special,” said Hoops. “Fans of wrestling nostalgia will want to add the DVD set to their collection.”

Funk, Foley, Vachon among those honored at Tragos/Thesz HOF

By JOYCE PAUSTIAN – For SLAM! Wrestling 

WATERLOO, Iowa – Despite some changes to the format from previous years — and to the museum itself — the 2010 George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame held its induction ceremonies this past weekend. Five new members were inducted to the Hall of Fame, and several other awards were handed out as well.

Just a few weeks before the induction weekend, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Waterloo’s Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum — home of the Tragos/Thesz Hall — announced a partnership, joining forces to preserve the rich history and proud traditions of the sport of wrestling for future generations. The Iowa facility is now the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum. Management for both museums will be combined, with joint marketing, fundraising, promotion, education and other programs executed out of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Stillwater. The joint operation will combine each museum’s resources to operate more efficiently, which will allow for greater public awareness.

National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum and Dan Gable International Wrestling Museum Announce Historic Partnership to Increase Sport’s Visibility

STILLWATER, Okla. – Wrestling’s two greatest museums will soon become one, as the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum and the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum are joining forces to preserve the rich history and proud traditions of the sport of wrestling for future generations.

The historic partnership was announced today by Jim Keen Sr., Chairman of the Board of Governors of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum, and Bob Buckley, President of the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum.

Highlights of the partnership include:

  • As of June 6, the Dan Gable International Wrestling Museum and Institute in Waterloo, Iowa will be known as the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum.  The National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum will retain its current name and continue to operate in Stillwater, Okla.
  • Management for both museums will be combined, with joint marketing, fundraising, promotion, education and other programs executed out of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Stillwater. The joint operation will combine each museum’s resources to operate more efficiently, which will allow for greater public awareness and education efforts to further inspire the next generation of champion athletes.
  • Each museum will continue to host its unique series of events, as in the past.

“For some time, it has been the feeling of both of our board of directors that we could better serve the sport by working together,” said Jim Keen, Sr., Chairman of the Board of Governors of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. “We have reached an agreement to combine our operations under the umbrella of the Hall of Fame in Stillwater.”

“Because we have a common purpose, it made sense to combine our resources so that we can perpetuate the sport’s great heritage,” said Bob Buckley, President of the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum. Additionally, Buckley and three other board members from the Dan Gable Museum will join the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum Board of Governors.

“Over the next several weeks, we will work together to streamline our management and align our goals to further position ourselves to better serve our mission,” said Lee Roy Smith, Executive Director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. “The benefits of this partnership will increase our overall appeal to the wrestling community and sports fans.”

Dan Gable, for whom the Waterloo Museum is named, said that he has wanted to see this joint effort. “I want to see us work together because wrestling needs its history to help educate and inspire future generations,” he said. “This collaborative effort is about the growth of our sport.”

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum board of governors has been formulating a strategic plan to enhance the Hall’s ability to achieve its mission of preserving the sport’s history, recognizing outstanding achievement and inspiring future generations.

“This agreement aligns with our long range plan and allows us to expand the overall reach across the wrestling community,” Smith said. “With these shared initiatives, we hope to increase our visibility and further develop the sport.”

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum is located at 405 West Hall of Fame Drive in Stillwater, Okla.

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