National Wrestling Hall of Fame Honors Weekend commencing in Stillwater, Okla., June 2-3
by USA Wrestling and National Wrestling Hall of Fame
The National Wrestling Hall of Fame will host its 46th Honors Weekend in Stillwater, Okla., June 2-3. Included in the weekend celebrations are the following activities:
· Social and Presentation of Plaques on Friday, June 2, at 6 p.m. (CT) at National Wrestling Hall of Fame
· Tribute Breakfast on Saturday, June 3 at 10 a.m. (CT) at McKnight Center for the Performing Arts
· 46th Honors Banquet and Induction Ceremony on Saturday, June 3, at 7 p.m. (CT) at McKnight Center for the Performing Arts
Being inducted as Distinguished Members of the Class of 2023 are wrestling legends Jimmy Jackson, Patricia Miranda and Joe Williams, plus long-time wrestling leader Rich Bender.
Jackson, Miranda and Williams each represented the United States in the Olympic Games as freestyle wrestlers. Jackson competed in the 1976 Olympics held in Montreal, Canada, as a 19-year-old college sophomore. Miranda was the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in wrestling, claiming bronze at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Williams also competed at the 2004 Olympic Games, finishing in fifth place.
Both Miranda and Williams won multiple World medals for the U.S. Miranda was a three-time World medalist, twice finishing with silver (2000, 2003) on top of one bronze (2006). Williams earned a pair World bronze medals during his international career (2001, 2005).
Jackson was a three-time NCAA champion and Big Eight Conference champion for Oklahoma State University and became the first African-American to win three NCAA championships alongside Lee Kemp in 1978. Williams was a three-time NCAA champion and four-time All-American for the University of Iowa. Miranda competed as a member of the men’s varsity wrestling team at Stanford University from 1997 to 2002
Bender has led one of the most successful periods in USA Wrestling history, both on and off the mat, since being named acting executive director of USA Wrestling in November 2000 and permanent director in February 2001. He is the longest-serving Executive Director in organization history.
Distinguished Members can be a wrestler who has achieved extraordinary success in national and/or international competition; a coach who has demonstrated great leadership in the profession and who has compiled an outstanding record; or a contributor whose long-term activities have substantially enhanced the development and advancement of the sport.
Entering the National Wrestling Hall of Fame alongside its Distinguished Members in the Class of 2023 are Order of Merit recipient Frank Popolizio, Medal of Courage recipient Richard Perry, Outstanding American Bob Bowlsby and Meritorious Official Ed Kelly.
The Order of Merit is presented to an individual that has made a significant contribution to the sport of wrestling, but is not an athlete or a coach.
The Medal of Courage recipient is a wrestler or former wrestler who has overcome what appear to be insurmountable challenges, providing inspiration to others.
The Outstanding American award is presented to those individuals who have used the disciplines of wrestling to launch notable careers in other walks of life, such as science and technology, business and industry, government and the military, and the arts and humanities.
The Meritorious Official award recognizes outstanding service as a referee, judge, or pairing official.
Cael Hughes of Stillwater, Okla., and Kira Pipkins of Bloomfield, N.J., have been recognized by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as 2023 recipients of the Dave Schultz and Tricia Saunders High School Excellence awards.
The Dave Schultz and Tricia Saunders High School Excellence awards recognize and celebrate the nation’s most outstanding high school senior male and female wrestlers for their excellence in wrestling, scholastic achievement, citizenship, and community service.
Both the Tribute Breakfast and Induction Ceremony will be broadcast live on the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Rokfin channel at rokfin.com/nwhof. Rokfin is a subscription service and it is recommended that accounts be created in advance at rokfin.com.
At the Tribute Event, each member of the Class of 2023 will have two individuals speak on their behalf, including how the honoree impacted their lives and the lives of others.
The event will be hosted by Hall of Fame Governor’s Associate Dave Martin, an NCAA champion for Iowa State and a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Dan Gable Museum’s Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame.
The Induction Ceremony will be hosted by Hall of Fame Board Member Sandy Stevens, a recipient of the Hall of Fame’s Order of Merit award as well as being the first female inducted into the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame of Iowa.
Each honoree will have an induction video, after which they will go onto the stage to receive their award and give a short acceptance speech.
For more information about the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Honors Weekend please visit nwhof.org.