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The National Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Mat Talk Podcast Network presented Legends, a series dedicated to telling the stories of wrestling's greats. Featuring Outstanding Americans, Distinguished Members, Order of Merit and Medal of Courage winners, Legends will chronicle the stories from the most legendary figures in Olympic, college and high school wrestling.

Legends: National Wrestling Hall of Fame Mat Talk Podcast Network

    • Wrestling

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Mat Talk Podcast Network presented Legends, a series dedicated to telling the stories of wrestling's greats. Featuring Outstanding Americans, Distinguished Members, Order of Merit and Medal of Courage winners, Legends will chronicle the stories from the most legendary figures in Olympic, college and high school wrestling.

    2019 Distinguished Member Rich Lorenzo

    2019 Distinguished Member Rich Lorenzo

    An outstanding high school and collegiate wrestler, Rich Lorenzo became an icon in college wrestling as the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions from 1978 to 1992. His exemplary career has earned Lorenzo induction into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a 2019 Distinguished Member.
    During his coaching career, he helped 53 Penn State wrestlers earn All-America honors, including two-time NCAA champion Jeff Prescott and national champions Carl DeStefanis, Scott Lynch and Jim Martin. He led the Nittany Lions to 11 Top 10 NCAA finishes, including six Top Five finishes. Penn State won 11 consecutive Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association team titles and two National Dual Meet championships. Lorenzo was named EIWA Coach of the Year six times and was named National Coach of the Year in 1981 and 1992. Prior to becoming head coach, he was an assistant coach for Penn State from 1968-74 and helped the Nittany Lions finish in the Top 10 at the NCAA tournament four times while winning two EIWA team titles and finishing second three times.
    He was co-executive director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association from 1993-95, raising one half of the coaches' $1 million capital campaign challenge, and served as the association’s membership chair and treasurer from 1993-99. Lorenzo was executive director and treasurer for the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club, serving as the major fundraiser to fully endow the wrestling program. He was the chief fundraiser for a $4 million wrestling facility, which was named the Lorenzo Wrestling Complex.
    On the mat, Lorenzo was a two-time district champion and a state runner-up for Newton (New Jersey) High School. Top-seeded at 191 pounds in the 1968 NCAA Championships, Lorenzo lost a close 2-1 decision in the semifinals and finished fourth. Earlier, he won an EIWA championship and was named Outstanding Wrestler and winner of the trophy for Most Falls. Lorenzo was an East-West dual meet winner in 1968 and a three-time EIWA place winner while going undefeated in dual meets as a junior and senior for the Nittany Lions.
    Lorenzo was also a four-time Future Farmers of America state public speaking champion and was named the New Jersey Future Farmers of America Star State Farmer in 1964. He received the Lifetime Service to Wrestling award from the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1995, and was inducted into both the EWL Hall of Fame and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 1996.

    Video compilation by Dave “Doc” Bennett.
     
     
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    Recorded June 2019 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

    • 36 Min.
    2019 Distinguished Member Brandon Paulson

    2019 Distinguished Member Brandon Paulson

    Successful at virtually every level of his storied career, Brandon Paulson is recognized for his wrestling prowess and coaching expertise by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a 2019 Distinguished Member.
    The highlight of his wrestling career was winning the silver medal at 114.5 pounds in Greco-Roman competition at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He also competed three times in Greco-Roman at the World Championships, winning a silver medal in 2001 and finishing eighth in 2002. A four-time U.S. Open champion,  Paulson excelled at every age-group level of USA Wrestling, winning Cadet, Junior, Espoir and University national titles and a silver medal at the Espoir World Championships in 1993. He was an All-American at the University of Minnesota and was a three-time Minnesota high school state champion for Anoka High School. He had a career high school record of 155-12-1 and was named Mr. Minnesota Wrestling in 1992.
    He was named Greco-Roman Coach of the Year by USA Wrestling in 2008 and received the honor again in 2016. Paulson was a member of the U.S. coaching staff at the 2008 Olympic Games while also helping coach the U.S. Junior Greco-Roman World Team in 2007 and 2008.
    He has partnered with NCAA champion and U.S. Olympic Team Trials runner-up Jared Lawrence at the PINnacle Wrestling School, coaching youth, high school and international wrestlers. PINnacle Wrestling has produced nine age-group world medalists, including three world champions.
    He has served as a club coach with the Minnesota Storm, working with senior-level and age-group athletes at the U.S. national championships and World Team Trials. Paulson has also been a member of the Minnesota/USA Wrestling coaching staff for the Junior and Cadet Nationals, helping produce numerous national champions and All-Americans for one of the strongest Greco-Roman programs in the nation.
    Paulson was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum's Alan and Gloria Rice Greco-Roman Hall of Champions in 2013 and was a member of the Charter Class of the Anoka High School Hall of Fame in 2011.
     
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    • 1 Std. 11 Min.
    1979 Distinguished Member Charles "Doc" Speidel

    1979 Distinguished Member Charles "Doc" Speidel

    He devoted a lifetime to the sport of wrestling. But in more than 60 years as an athlete, coach and teacher, Charlie Speidel contributed far more to the lives of others than ever can be recorded in the statistics of achievement.

    He was a pioneer for wrestling and helped it gain stature as a major sport in the high schools and colleges of Pennsylvania and across the eastern states. He traveled extensively, often with arch rival Billy Sheridan, to present clinics and introduce the sport.

    The record shows that "Doc" Speidel coached 38 years at Penn State University. His teams won 191 dual meets and lost only 53. Seven of them were undefeated. They won eight Eastern Intercollegiate team championships and 56 individual titles. Six of his wrestlers were National Collegiate champions. And in 1953, his Nittany Lions became the only eastern squad ever to win the NCAA team championship.

    He was an author of wrestling books and articles for such publications as the Encyclopedia Brittanica. During World War II he served four years as fleet recreation officer in the South Pacific.

    In 1930, he brought the nation's wrestling coaches together and founded the National Wrestling Coaches Association, later serving two terms as its president. All this is a matter of record.

    But Charlie Speidel's contributions cannot be measured by victories and defeats. First of all, he was a teacher who gave of himself to enrich the lives of young men.

    He taught "total wrestling" -not only the mechanics, but enthusiasm, self-reliance and the importance of deep dedication, hard work and the strength of the will to win. He stressed the importance of education and insisted that his athletes complete their degrees.

    Recognized as one of the great coaches, and one of the great humanitarians of the sport, Charles Martin Speidel is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
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    And if you're a fan of the extensive and broad-based reach of the shows on the Mat Talk Podcast Network, become a contributor today.. There are various levels of perks for the different levels of patronage. If you like wrestling content -- scratch that -- if you LOVE great wrestling content, consider becoming a contributor. How much you give is solely up to how much you believe it's worth to you.

    • 10 Min.
    1979 Distinguished Member Dr. Albert deFerrari

    1979 Distinguished Member Dr. Albert deFerrari

    His interest in wrestling surfaced in 1922 from deep in the waters of San Francisco Bay. After more than half a century of service to the sport, Dr. Albert deFerrari's impact on wrestling had spanned the globe.

    His first exposure to the sport followed a shipwreck near the Golden Gate. The ship's cargo of cotton was declared free to any takers. Already a champion swimmer and diver, deFerrari retrieved a truckload. The mothers of his neighborhood then remade the wrestling mats of the area, stuffing in the free cotton and sewing the canvas covers with heavy thread.

    Such interest attracted the attention of the young San Francisco dentist. Soon he would become involved in promoting wrestling in the storied Olympic Club, and would nurture the sport until the club became of national renown on the mats.

    Dr. Al never lost his innovative approach. While serving more than two decades on the U. S. Olympic Committee and the International Wrestling Federation, he brought about this country's first exchange series with Japan and the Soviet Union and inaugurated the Junior World Championships.

    When USA Wrestling was founded in 1968, he was an inspirational leader and a close liaison with the international leaders of the sport until his death in 1976.

    His greatest contribution came during the late 1950s when he rescued the vague and indecisive international rules from their pointless pattern. Because of his efforts, the international federation accepted the scoring of points for takedowns, stopping of the clock for out-of-bounds, and requirements that even the touch-fall must be controlled by the offensive wrestler. Even a shipload of waterlogged cotton had been easier to salvage from the depths.

    For a lifetime of leadership in the development of wrestling, and for his impact on modernization of the sport, Dr. Albert deFerrari is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
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    • 10 Min.
    1979 Distinguished Member Keith Young, three-time NCAA champion

    1979 Distinguished Member Keith Young, three-time NCAA champion

    He packed more wrestling success into five years than most athletes manage in a lifetime of competition. Keith Young spent the next three decades returning those rewards to the sport with full interest.

    His Algona High School team didn't offer wrestling until his senior year, and when he joined the University of Northern Iowa you'd hardly expect a youngster of such limited experience to fill the shoes of one of wrestling's all-time greats, Bill Koll.

    But fill them he did, winning six national championships in three seasons. Undefeated in collegiate competition, he was NCAA champion at 145 pounds in 1949, '50 and '51, leading the Panthers of coach Dave McCuskey to the team title during his junior year.

    Young's three collegiate crowns matched Koll's total as Northern Iowa reigned supreme in the welterweight division six years in a row. The same three years, Young was National AAU champ -outstanding wrestler in '50 -and each year the Panthers captured the AAU team trophy.

    Rather than pursue post-graduate competition, Young turned immediately to high school coaching. In three years at Blue Earth, Minn., he produced a state team champion. Then he returned to Iowa, coaching a year at Osage before taking the reins in 1955 at Cedar Falls.

    There he produced more than 200 dual meet victories, two state champion teams, two runners-up and a host of individual winners. Far more important, however, was his influence on the lives of young men, as a teaching example of integrity and dedication.

    He also served the sport of wrestling for many years as one of its most widely respected referees, officiating at the high school and collegiate levels all the way to the NCAA and NAIA championships.

    In recognition of his outstanding achievements as a champion wrestler, and his long years of service to the sport as a teacher and leader of young athletes, Keith Fay Young is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
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    • 14 Min.
    1979 Distinguished Member Frank Lewis, Olympic Champion

    1979 Distinguished Member Frank Lewis, Olympic Champion

    As a tall, skinny college freshman, Frank Lewis was "a little tired" after six years of wrestling and planned to give full attention to his studies at Oklahoma State University.

    But he needed a physical education credit and a wrestling class would provide an easy grade. Members of the class were required to compete in the all-college intramurals and when he failed to win the championship his pride was stung. He decided to concentrate on wrestling again.

    Frank Lewis concentrated so well that he became a national champion and the gold medalist in the 1936 Olympic Games at Berlin.

    A state high school champ and four-time medalist from 100 to 155 pounds, he possessed the raw talent from which coach Edward C. Gallagher could mold a winner. But because of his rapid growth, the youngster didn't have the stamina to wrestle the longer college matches. And because of a minor heart condition, his coach had to devise a special training routine to build stamina without putting a strain on his health.

    Despite these difficulties, he established a collegiate record of 45-5, winning the NCAA title in 1935 after placing second the year before. Both years he contributed vital points to the Cowboys' team trophies.

    In 1935, he won the National AAU crown and became the first contestant to be officially recognized as outstanding wrestler of a National AAU tournament, receiving a gold watch for this honor. A year later, he swept undefeated through the series of Olympic trials, then defended his position against his alternate on the boat to Europe.

    In the Games, he scored a fall the first day, another the second day. He wrestled three times the third day, but stamina no longer was a problem and two more falls offset a narrow loss to Tur Andersson of Sweden as Frank Lewis became the only American to win a championship.

    As a wrestler of ultimate achievement and a lifelong example of perseverance and dedication to goals, Frank Wiatt Lewis is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
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    And if you're a fan of the extensive and broad-based reach of the shows on the Mat Talk Podcast Network, become a contributor today.. There are various levels of perks for the different levels of patronage. If you like wrestling content -- scratch that -- if you LOVE great wrestling content, consider becoming a contributor. How much you give is solely up to how much you believe it's worth to you.

    • 7 Min.

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