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|Athlete and coach memories of Dave Schultz, published in January 1996|
By USA Wrestling athletes and coaches
Five-time World-level Champion Bruce Baumgartner of Cambridge Springs, Pa.
"Dave and I got pinned in the 1981 NCAA finals, then won it together in 1982. We roomed together at the 1982 World Championships. I have known him for years.
He's the most unselfish and giving person I have known. Obviously he was one of the best technical and strategic wrestlers and one of the best coaches. He was willing to help any wrestler of any age. He helped me and Chris Campbell who are as old as he is and helps with the younger guys.
I was down at the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference Tournament this weekend and Cary Kolat told me that the six months he spent with Dave helped him out so much. There's a guy (Kolat) who hasn't made a World team. I even heard from parents that they would take their kids up there to have Dave instruct. Dave just helped everyone from high school to the international level.
Dave was very unselfish. He was always upbeat and positive with a smile on his face. He had a way of looking and finding the bright side of things. He was mature, loved his kids and family. I have known Dave well since 1982 or '83. It's just hard."
Long-time friend and teammate Ed Giese of Newtown Square, Pa.
"Dave was wrestling. It's all very hard to put this in the correct words right now. He revolutionized the sport of wrestling.
I never met a person who understood it like Dave. There is just no one like him. We lost our best friend. He touched everybody, even if he just met the person or if he knew them for years. It's universal.
Dave was bigger than life. He was our version of Michael Jordan. He's just a happy go lucky guy. I could never say a bad word. He touched my life in all facets of it. I'm not the only one. Everyone that talked to him felt this.
He was very personable. He enjoyed what he did. He enjoyed wrestling more. He had a few hobbies, but wrestling was his love.
It was like talking to a super star. If we ran into another World-class athlete, it didn't seem he was one because he was so down to earth. He was willing to talk to anyone. At times he would walk off the mat exhausted and take time to sign autographs.
He really enjoyed himself while wrestling. He'll joke with the officials during a match winning or losing.
He touched us in a positive light. Personally, I'll never forget him or the things we did together. I was able to spend time with him. He was my idol in life. I never knew someone who was like him."
1995 World Champion Kurt Angle of Pittsburgh, Pa.
"I'd say in my eyes, Dave was the godfather of USA Wrestling. He contributed as a coach, leader and athlete. He never backed down. He was never afraid to tell how he felt. Dave always dared to be different and he was his own individual. I loved and respected him for that.
He cared about everybody. It didn't depend on who you were or how good you were. Before I had success, he helped me. I've always wanted to be like him in a lot of ways.
He's a very clever individual and picked up things quickly. One thing was that he knew all of the different languages so he could speak to the athletes. He spoke Russian so he could learn their ways and be able to beat them. He knows five, six or seven different languages. His best asset was that he was very clever in that manner."
Three-time World-level Champion Kevin Jackson of Lansing, Mich.
"Dave had the greatest technical mind of any wrestler. He would go out of his way to help all of the athletes. I had a lot of love for him. If it was not wrestling related, Dave would still help you out. He stuck with you during the tough times. He's a great person to be around.
I never had a wrestling mentor or hero, and he was mine. It's a shame his kids won't get to know the type of man he was. I am really saddened to see that he won't get to see his kids grow up.
Just the free spirit that he created and it instilled you to do what you want. He wanted to see you accomplish your goals. He instilled you to be yourself. He was a great communicator. He was able to find the bright side of things.
He was able to look at the real issue. He loved the sport and he inspired us to love the sport even more. He was a people person. It was shown that he had touched many lives, not only in wrestling. I loved Dave and am really going to miss him."
Coach Bobby Douglas of Ames, Iowa
"Dave was the renaissance of wrestling. He brought a lot to the table. He could have been the most unselfish person in working with younger wrestlers. I lost a good friend.
He's very unselfish, very loyal to the sport of wrestling, very close relationships to his teammates. I'm really not sure how else I can explain Dave.
American wrestling has lost a great athlete and person. America lost a great person."
Four-time World medalist Melvin Douglas of Mesa, Ariz.
"I met Dave in 1981 when I went to college. He showed me what it was going to be like in college and what the competition was like. He took care of me while I was in college and after I got out.
He tried to get me to join Foxcatcher in 1989, but I moved down here (with the Sunkist Kids in Arizona).
I'm going to miss Dave. I feel real sorry for his family most of all.
I saw that Dave's qualities were to help any wrestler, no matter what club you wrestled for. He was always kind and rarely got mad. It's hard to describe all of the qualities he had. He gave what he had all of the time.
I bought a scope in Russia and it didn't work over here. Two years later, Dave gave me a battery for it from Russia, so it could work.
He's always thinking of someone else."
Six-time World-level Champion John Smith of Stillwater, Okla.
"There is really one that that stands out. He took me under his wing in 1986 at the Goodwill Games. I was a young 20-year-old kid in my first major international event. At weigh-ins I was intimidated. He said they were human and beatable. That really stands out. He helped in every aspect. At this event he was a player/coach for me.
Dave always saw something in me. He was very motivating at this time.
He was the single most important person in the '80s for freestyle wrestling. He really took us to the next level.
He took time to spend with you to teach you techniques. He would not let you leave until you understood. This is very unique in wrestling, because most athletes hold this information. Dave Schultz was not this way.
His ability to get across a skill and technique was amazing. He showed me a skill in 1986 before we left for the Goodwill Games. That skill stuck with me until the last match I had in '92. It was on the leg lace attack. He made you listen and understand.
He would help a person anytime of the day. He would always give you his time."
1990 World Team Member and Two-time National Champion Rob Koll of Dryden, N.Y.
"He definitely affected me, he was a unique individual and got me to join Foxcatcher. He was a friend, he brought me into his house, he fed me, housed me and coached me. He was a special person to do that knowing that we wrestled against each other.
He technically revolutionized the sport of wrestling in the United States. He brought back a lot of new techniques from competing overseas always looking to become a better wrestler technically. Dave was a true student of the sport, he seemed to get better and better as he got older.
He was an icon in the sport of wrestling. When I was growing up Dave Schultz was who I wanted to be, he was my idol. Every athlete has heroes, Dave was mine."
Four-time U.S. Nationals Champion Matt Demaray of Omaha, Neb.
"I first came into contact with Dave when he was the assistant coach at Wisconsin, he recruited me and he was one of the main reasons I ended up at Wisconsin. We got along real well because we both enjoyed studying the sport of wrestling.
He was always a real inspiration for me and my wrestling career. I remember that he took the time to help me work through an injury that I suffered right before the 1993 World Championships.
Dave was a real student of the sport. I remember on more than one occasion staying late after practice to work out new techniques with him that he wanted to perfect.
Dave was the kind of person that was always smiling and always willing to help out a friend. You would always see him walking around talking to everyone at competitions offering advice.
Opponents would even ask him to show them moves that he had just used to pin them.
In my mind Dave was the most knowledgeable wrestler ever in the sport."