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Steve Knipp named USA Wrestling National Events Person of the Year



Steve Knipp of Waterloo, Iowa has been named the 2007 National Events Person of the Year by USA Wrestling, the national governing body for amateur wrestling in the United States. Knipp is the inaugural recipient of this award, which recognizes a dedicated volunteer who has contributed highly to USA Wrestling's regional and national championship events.

"USA Wrestling is built on the tremendous service of thousands of volunteers who give freely of their time for the benefit of our young athletes. For several years, USA Wrestling has acknowledged the efforts of volunteer leaders, mat and pairing officials, and coaches. We felt it was imperative that we recognize the people who work so diligently in the many facets of our regional and national championship events," said USA Wrestling Director of National Events, Pete Isais. "We couldn't think of a person more deserving of this inaugural award than Steve."

In 2007 alone, Knipp played a significant role in organizing and managing three prominent USA Wrestling regional and national championship events.

Most notably, he served as the tournament director for the ASICS Folkstyle National Championships in Cedar Falls, Iowa, which attracted a record 2151 participants in seven different age divisions. He also hosted the Northern Plains Kids/Cadet Regional Championships and the Northern Plains Junior/Senior Regional Championships, both in Waterloo, Iowa.

In addition to the three national-level tournaments this year, Knipp has hosted over 30 USA Wrestling and/or Iowa Wrestling Federation (IWF) state, regional, and national events.

Knipp's service as a tournament director is only one of the many hats he has worn over the years. He currently serves as the treasurer for the IWF and is a high ranking official with United States Wrestling Officials Association. Knipp also served as the head coach at Waterloo East High School for 26 years, leading his wrestlers to the Iowa state team title in 1983. Additionally, he coached over 30 state place winners and eight state champions.

True to form, Knipp would rather avoid the limelight and makes a point to note that he is merely the name on the flyer.

"Being an event director involves working with a bunch of wonderful people that come and help you run tournaments. I couldn't be a tournament director without the help of super people from all over the United States," Knipp said. "Whether it's the volunteers from Iowa, the pairing officials from Wisconsin, or the table workers from Louisiana, a successful event is the result of their efforts."

USA Wrestling coordinates over 30 regional and national-level events every year and according to Isais, Knipp is the epitome of everything a tournament director should be.

"Steve works unselfishly on the behalf of the wrestlers, the volunteers, the community, and USA Wrestling to coordinate and manage tournaments that people want to be involved with," said Isais. "He makes it a priority to ensure everyone is appreciated for their efforts."

This is the third time Knipp has been honored for his dedication and service to USA Wrestling. He was also selected as this year's May Volunteer of the Month and the 2002 USA Wrestling Kids Person of the Year.

Knipp says that the friendships he has made gives him the most satisfaction from his involvement in the great sport of wrestling.

"There are a whole bunch of great people out there donating their time to make quality wrestling programs available to young people," Knipp said. "They all deserve an award every month."
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