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|National Wrestling Hall of Fame announces the Class of 2007 Distinguished Members; Davis, Gibson, Kristoff, Weick are honored|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
STILLWATER, OKLA. - The National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum has announced the selection of the Class of 2007 Distinguished Members to be inducted at its annual Honors Weekend Banquet and Induction Ceremony June 2, 2007 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The event will mark the 31st anniversary Class of the Hall of Fame & Museum.
Four wrestling greats will be added as Distinguished Members in 2007. They are:
- Barry Davis of Madison, Wis.
- Greg Gibson of Fontana, Calif.
- Larry Kristoff of Anna, Ill.
- William J. Weick of Chicago Ridge, Ill.
All four of these wrestling greats had major achievements at the Olympic Games and World Championships, three as athletes and one as a coach.
Davis won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in freestyle wrestling and competed on the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team. Gibson won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Greco-Roman wrestling. Kristoff was a member of two U.S. Olympic freestyle wrestling teams.
Kristoff won five medals at the World Championships representing the United States, while Davis was a two-time World medalist during his career. Gibson won three World medals in freestyle wrestling, and was also a World champion in the sport of Sombo. Weick served on the coaching staff of a number of U.S. World and Olympic teams.
Three had successful careers in coaching, as well. Weick made his impact on the high school level in Illinois, earning more than 700 dual meet victories for three programs over the last four decades, including five state champion teams. Kristoff was a champion coach at the NCAA Div. II level, leading SIU-Edwardsville to three consecutive NCAA titles. Davis currently serves as the head coach on the Div. I level at the Univ. of Wisconsin.
All four were outstanding college wrestlers. Davis won three NCAA Div. I national titles for Iowa and Weick claimed a pair of NCAA titles for the Univ. of Northern Iowa. Kristoff won two NCAA Div. II national crowns for SIU-Carbondale and was a Div. I runner-up. Gibson was a two-time NCAA All-American for Oregon, including runner-up finishes in 1975 and 1976.
The Hall of Fame's Board of Governors approved these selections at its semi-annual meeting held in Las Vegas in December 2006.
"I want to thank our Board of Governors and the various screening and selection committees involved in the six-month process that determines our honorees for induction. This is another exceptional class of inductees whose merits transcend our sport," said Lee Roy Smith, Executive Director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum.
Davis becomes a Distinguished Member after a successful international career, as well as an impressive college background. He won a silver medal in freestyle wrestling at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Calif., and earned a spot on the 1988 Olympic team which competed in Seoul, South Korea. Davis also claimed two World medals, a silver in 1987 and a bronze in 1985. He was a three-time NCAA champion and four-time All-American competing for the Univ. of Iowa, also winning four Big Ten titles. He currently serves as the head wrestling coach at the Univ. of Wisconsin.
Gibson is considered one of the most versatile wrestlers in history, winning World medals in three international styles: Greco-Roman, freestyle and Sombo. He won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles in Greco-Roman wrestling, and added World silver medals in freestyle in 1981 and 1983 and a World bronze in freestyle in 1982. He won his Sombo World title in 1981. Gibson was a member of a the 1981, 1982 and 1985 Greco-Roman World Teams. He was a Pan American Games champion in 1983, and won three Freestyle World Cup titles. Gibson served in the U.S. Marines for more than 20 years, and is considered the greatest U.S. military wrestler, winning 19 Armed Forces titles in the two styles. He also won numerous national titles in both styles. Gibson had a successful college career, earning All-American honors twice for the Univ. of Oregon, including runner-up finishes in 1975 and 1976.
Kristoff was one of the greatest heavyweight wrestlers in American history, with dominant performances on the national and international levels during the 1960's. He won five World medals for the United States in international freestyle wrestling, capturing silver medals in 1966, 1969 and 1979 and bronze medals in 1965 and 1967. Kristoff competed on two U.S. Olympic teams, placed seventh at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan and fifth at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. He won a total of 13 Senior-level national titles, competing in both freestyle and Greco-Roman. As a college wrestler, Kristoff was a two-time NCAA Div. II national champion, and placed second in the NCAA Div. I National Championships. As a coach, he led SIU-Edwardsville to three NCAA Div. II national titles, coaching numerous champions and All-Americans.
Weick is regarded as one of the top wrestling coaches in the nation, with special achievements in international freestyle wrestling and on the high school level. He served on the coaching staff for a number of U.S. teams at the Olympic Games and World Championships. Weick was head coach of the 1975 Pan American Games team that won the team title, and also led U.S. teams to victory at the World Cup, the Junior World Championships and the World University Games. His high school coaching career is legendary, with a career record of 749-112-2 at Tilden Tech, Mount Carmel and Brother Rice High Schools in Illinois. Five of his teams won state team titles, and three were state dual meet champions, and Weick has coached 21 state champion athletes, three of which went on to win six NCAA Division IA Titles. He was a member of the first U.S. World Greco-Roman team in 1961. Weick won two NCAA titles competing for the Univ. of Northern Iowa.
Complete biographies of the inductees will be posted each day this week on TheMat.com (www.themat.com), with Davis on Thursday, Gibson on Friday, Kristoff on Saturday, and Weick on Sunday.
Additional honorees will be announced in the categories of Outstanding American, Order of Merit, Medal of Courage, and Outstanding Official next week.