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Mike Novogratz named USA Wrestling Man of the Year

Mike Novogratz receives his USA Wrestling Man of the Year award from USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender and President James Ravannack.

Mike Novogratz of New York, N.Y., who has been an innovative leader in promoting wrestling and raising funds for the sport, has been named Man of the Year by USA Wrestling, the national governing body for wrestling in the United States. This award recognizes an outstanding man for his contributions to the sport of wrestling.

Novogratz serves as the Team Leader for Freestyle Team USA during the 2009-2012 quadrennium, and has been part of the staff at the last two World Championships. He will lead the freestyle delegation at the 2011 World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, as well as the U.S. freestyle team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.

He is the driving force behind the Beat the Streets Gala events, which raises money for youth and high school wrestling in New York City. Novogratz has developed a wrestling match as part of the Gala. In 2010, an all-star dual was held on the U.S.S. Intrepid aircraft carrier, raising $800,000. In 2011, a USA vs. Russia dual meet was held in Times Square, the first sports event ever held in this famous setting, raising over $1 million.

Novogratz has been a leader and major financial supporter of the Beat the Streets program in New York City, which has placed dozens of wrestling programs in high schools and junior high schools in the city. This program is now being launched in many other cities.

Novogratz has been a leader in the development of the Living the Dream Medal Fund, which was launched in 2009, serving as a steward for the program, which established the fund and assists in its financial support. World and Olympic medalists for the United States receive bonuses from this fund, with a guarantee of $250,000 for any American gold medalist in wrestling at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Novogratz was named as an Outstanding American by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2007.

He was a Virginia state runner-up as a high school wrestler, and competed for Princeton University in college, reaching the round of 12 at the NCAA Div. I Wrestling Championships.

Professionally, he has been a major success in the financial services industry.

“It is flattering and was not expected. It is a very nice honor,” said Novogratz. “I see my work in wrestling is to inject some energy into the sport. I got that mandate from Tom Brands years ago and I try to live up to it. Most of what I do is to get people excited about wrestling. It is also about the kids, so we can use the sport to make a difference in kids lives. That is where all the volunteerism comes in. My role is to shed some light, some resources and some enthusiasm. I love the sport. I grew up in it. You rarely meet a wrestler you don’t like.”

2010 – Mike Novogratz
2009 – Greg Strobel
2008 - Sonny Greenhalgh
2007 - Van Stokes
2006 - Steve Silver
2005 - Al Bevilacqua
2004 - Jeff Levitetz
2003 - Set Agonian
2002 - Al Kastl
2001 - James Ravannack
2000 - Rulon Gardner
1999 - Duane Morgan
1998 - Scott Beck
1997 - Rick Tucci
1996 - Dave Schultz
1995 - Leroy Evans
1994 - James E. Scherr
1993 - Arthur J. Martori
1992 - Bruce Baumgartner
1990 - Eugene Barone
1989 - John Vaughan
1987 - Dave Rudrud
1986 - Jeff Blatnick
1985 - Dr. Dan Gould
1984 - Gary Thompson
1983 - Don Sondgeroth
1982 - Frank Rader
1981 - John Roberts
1980 - Rick Bay
1979 - Ben Bennett
1978 - Werner Holzer
1977 - Vince Zuaro
1976 - Ken Kraft
1974-75 - Russ Hellickson
1973 - Jack Stanbro
1972 - Melvin Jones
1971 - Bud Linholm
1970 - Rex Peery
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