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Chris Kallai named USA Wrestling State Chairperson of the Year

Chris Kallai of Wadsworth, Ohio was named USA Wrestling State Chairperson of the Year. This award honors a USA Wrestling State Chairperson for service and leadership within the organization. It was announced during the USA Wrestling State Leaders Summit in Colorado Springs, Colo. this past weekend.

Kallai has served as the state chairperson for USA Wrestling Ohio, for seven years. During his tenure, membership has grown within the association, and the event schedule has expanded. The number of athletes from Ohio who have participated in USA Wrestling’s ASICS/Vaughan Junior and Cadet Nationals has also increased.

Kallai serves on USA Wrestling’s Junior Executive Committee, is Vice-Chair of the Junior Council and now serves on the Junior Olympic Wrestling Committee. This weekend, he was elected to the USA Wrestling Governance Committee. He has been a member of USA Wrestling’s International Exchange Committee.

He is the event director for the combined University and FILA Cadet National Championships, which has been hosted in Akron, Ohio for the last six years (2007-2012). The University Nationals is for athletes who are 18-24 years old and whose class has graduated high school. The FILA Cadet Nationals is for athletes age 15-17 years old. Both competitions have shown substantial growth in size and quality of competition since they have been hosted in Akron.

Kallai was also a tournament director for the U.S. Open Wrestling Championships and the FILA Junior National Championships which were held in Cleveland, Ohio in 2010 and 2011.

He has served as a public address announcer at a number of major USA Wrestling events, including working the microphone at the 2012 ASICS/Vaughan Junior and Cadet Nationals. Kallai has also been the PA announcer for the U.S. Open, the University and FILA Cadet Nationals and the Cadet National Duals.

Kallai was named USA Wrestling FILA Junior/University Person of the Year in 2010. He was also named USA Wrestling’s Volunteer of the Month in May 2007.

Kallai has been a high school wrestling coach for 30 years, currently serving as an assistant coach at Uniontown Lake High School. He previously coached at Wadsworth High School and Barberton High School. He also has college coaching experience at both Malone College and Muskingum College. He is a graduate of Kent State University.

Chris comes from a wrestling family, where he and all of his brothers were wrestlers. He competed for Coventry High School in the Akron area.

His immediate family is very involved in wrestling at all levels. His wife Debbie is an active pairing official, who works many of the major events in the nation and has a USA 1-E ranking. Debbie is also part of the local organizing committee leadership for the national and regional events which are held in Ohio.

All three of their sons are mat officials, Christopher Jr., Matthew, and Josh. The sons were all Ohio state high school medalists, with Christopher and Matthew winning state titles and Josh placing third. All three boys also competed on the college level and remain very active in wrestling. Daughter-in-law Monica is also a pairing official.

“I have a passion for wrestling. I do it 12 months a year. It is awesome to be honored by your peers at our national convention,” said Kallai. “I see a lot of benefits in working with kids and helping them reach their achievements. An example is Justin Lester, who went on to make the Olympic Team out of Ohio. It makes it all worth it. It is great to see our kids compete in Fargo and stand on the podium there.”

He has served as a teacher of construction trades at Wadsworth High School for 20 years. Kallai also runs his own construction business, CNK Construction.

Note: Announcements on various USA Wrestling awards presented this summer will be made over the next few weeks on

State Chairperson of the Year
1978 - Leroy Evans, California
1979 - Dave Dozeman, Michigan
1980 - Frank Rader, North Carolina
1981 - Ted DeRousse, Illinois
1982 - Dave and Bobby Schneller, Connecticut
1983 - Mick Pickford, Iowa
1984 - Bill Crum, New Jersey
1985 - Tom Canavan, Pennsylvania
1986 - Kay Lacher, Minnesota
1987 - Jack Harcourt, Virginia
1988 - Mark Scott, Wyoming
1989 - Leroy Evans, California and Charlie White, Colorado
1990 - John Welch, New Jersey
1991 - Dave Mellon, North Dakota
1992 - Bob Labat, Minnesota
1993 - Al Kastl, Michigan
1994 - Chuck Elvin, Kansas
1995 - Haswell Franklin, Sr., Maryland
1996 - Archie Randall, Oklahoma
1997 - Fred Lehrke, Wisconsin
1998 - Bob Walker, Florida
1999 - Mike Dowden, Indiana
2000 - Paula McGahee, Georgia
2001 - Tom Shaw, Washington
2002 - Dave Black, Wisconsin
2003 - Jim Considine, Illinois
2004 – Mike Juby, Kansas
2005 – Tom Knupp, Ohio
2006 – Craig Ewing, Missouri
2007 – Bill Grant, Florida
2008 – Shawn Fields, Georgia
2009 – Chuck Bullard, Washington
2010 – Anthony Flatt, Georgia
2011 – Louis Rosbottom, Indiana
2012 – Chris Kallai, Ohio
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