African-American Wrestlers at Oklahoma State
FEATURE: African-American Wrestlers Thrive At Oklahoma State
DATE: 2/28/2008 4:34:00 PM
By Gavin Lang
Oklahoma State Sports Information
The history and tradition of Oklahoma State wrestling has been well documented. That?s what winning 34 NCAA team championships and having 418 All-Americans will do for a program. However, one of the aspects of Cowboy wrestling that has gone unrecognized in past years is the fact that African-Americans have thrived at OSU at a level unmatched by any other school.
A total of eight African-American Cowboy wrestlers have either won NCAA individual championships and/or gone on to compete in the Olympics. No other university can make that claim. In addition, 18 African-American Oklahoma State wrestlers have combined to earn 32 All-America honors.
?There is a culture of family in wrestling and in particular at OSU,? Olympic gold medalist and NCAA champion Kenny Monday said. ?Once you are part of the OSU wrestling family, they really bring you in. You?ve got teammates that really make you feel good. Tommy Chesbro was my coach there and he always had us feeling like family. At OSU, it doesn?t matter what your skin color is.?
Former Cowboy Daniel Cormier took fourth at the 2004 Athens Olympics and following a bronze medal showing at the 2007 World Championships, is in position to earn a spot on the medal stand in Beijing in 2008.
Cormier was joined on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team by OSU graduate Jamill Kelly, who earned a silver medal in Athens wrestling at 66 kilos. Kelly?s story was one of persistence, as he never won a Big 12 title and never placed at the NCAA Championship, but continued to train and eventually won Olympic silver.
?It?s exciting to see guys like Daniel Cormier and Jamill Kelly come through the program and then watch them continue to make strides in the sport like they have,? Monday said. ?We all have a fond affection for OSU and those guys especially, being coached by John Smith. It?s great to watch them and it really gives me a sense of pride to see them succeed as former Cowboys.?
Chris Pendleton was largely considered as the heart and soul of Oklahoma State?s record-setting 2005 NCAA Championship team. A three-time All-American and two-time NCAA individual champion, Pendleton is regarded as the top contender for a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team at 84 kilos. He compiled a 115-11 overall record during his OSU career with 32 falls, 19 technical falls and 15 major decisions.
?Chris Pendleton was a huge reason for the success that we had in winning four straight NCAA team championships,? Coach John Smith said. ?He was a leader in the wrestling room and was someone that his teammates and coaches could always count on.?
While Pendleton?s career winning percentage of 91.3 ranks among the top-25 all-time at OSU among wrestlers with at least 30 bouts, no other African-American won more matches during his time in Stillwater than Monday, who was victorious 121 times during his Cowboy career.
A distinguished member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Monday won the NCAA crown at 150 pounds in 1984 before winning the gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the silver medal at the 1992 Barcelona games. He nearly made it three Olympic medals when he took fourth at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He was recognized as the USA Wrestling Athlete of the Year in 1988 in addition to securing Man of the Year honors from the Amateur Wrestling News in 1989.
?The culture, the history, the tradition and the legacy left early on from Myron Roderick and going back even further is what made me want to be a Cowboy,? Monday said. ?The teams were so great. When I became a fan of the sport in the 1960s and 1970s, my parents would bring me to Stillwater for some of the wrestling and that laid the foundation for me to want to be great. That?s what struck me early on.?
A three-time NCAA heavyweight champion for OSU in 1976, 1977 and 1978, Jimmy Jackson competed in the 1976 Montreal Olympics. With more than half of his college wins coming by fall, Jackson?s 44 career pins ranks third in Oklahoma State history. With three NCAA titles on his r?sum?, Jackson is one of only two Cowboy heavyweights who can make that claim, joining Richard Hutton, who won heavyweight titles in 1947, 1948 and 1950.
Competing at OSU from 1974-75, Ron Ray was a two-time All-American and won the NCAA individual championship at 167 pounds in 1975. Ray compiled a 47-7-1 record during his two seasons with the Cowboys that included 13 falls and 15 superior decisions.
?Watching guys like Ron Ray and Jimmy Jackson there at Oklahoma State inspired me when I was growing up in the sport and when it came down to making a decision, I just wanted to be part of that kind of tradition,? Monday said.
Though he only competed one year for the Cowboys, Bobby Douglas was well known for his success on the international circuit, where he piled up more than 300 career wins. He became the first black American to wrestle in the Olympics when he took fourth at the 1964 Tokyo games. Four years later, he was the captain of the U.S. Olympic team at the 1968 Mexico City games but did not get the chance to compete that year due to illness. Douglas joins Kenny Monday as African-American former Cowboys in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
?There isn?t any question that Bobby Douglas had tremendous knowledge of the sport of wrestling,? Smith said. ?He was successful on the mat as a wrestler and went on to be one of the great coaches in our sport.?
The first African-American Cowboy to win an NCAA individual championship was Joe James, who stood atop the podium in 1964 after posting All-American finishes in 1962 and 1963. With a career record of 51-3-2, James owns the top winning percentage among former Cowboy African-American NCAA champions at .929 pct.
?Joe James was one of the pioneers in college wrestling. He was the first black wrestler to win an NCAA title at OSU and really helped to set the stage for those who followed after him,? Smith said. ?There are a lot of wrestlers out there who should be very grateful for Joe James and his impact on the sport.?
With a program that prides itself on its student-athletes and the rich tradition of success they have been instrumental in carving, OSU proudly recognizes its African-American NCAA champions, Olympians and All-Americans and takes pride in the fact that African-American wrestlers have thrived at Oklahoma State University more than any other school in the country.
Oklahoma State?s African-American NCAA Champions
Joe James (1964)
Ron Ray (1975)
Jimmy Jackson (1976, 1977, 1978)
Kenny Monday (1984)
Chris Pendleton (2004, 2005)
Oklahoma State?s African-American Olympians
Bobby Douglas (1964, 1968)
Jimmy Jackson (1976)
Kenny Monday (1988, 1992, 1996)
Jamill Kelly (2004)
Daniel Cormier (2004)
Oklahoma State?s African-American All-Americans
Joe James (1962, 1963, 1964)
Ron Ray (1974, 1975)
Jon Jackson (1974)
Jimmy Jackson (1976, 1977, 1978)
Charles Shelton (1979)
Thomas Landrum (1980)
Kenny Monday (1982, 1983, 1984)
Greg Hawkins (1982)
Reggie Wilson (1986)
Glen Lanham (1987)
Laurence Jackson (1988)
Hardell Moore (1997, 1998)
Reggie Wright (1999, 2000)
Tyrone Lewis (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)
Daniel Cormier (2001)
Jerrod Sanders (2003)
Chris Pendleton (2003, 2004, 2005)
Muhammed Lawal (2003)
Re: African-American Wrestlers at Oklahoma State
In 1963 In England,i was beaten in my First Final at the
Llondon Championships (27 clubs participating + the U.S forces stationed in the South of England... by a South African (in the time of Apartheid) by Staafe Koen...he Born Blind...but with a Super Technique and explosive Speed...
...once Touching and Bang...leg ride and Mat Burn!!!
But Of Course He Couldn't See If I Was Jamaican,or Not...
...what A Tragedy That He Missed Out On The Pleasures Of Being A Racist !
Wrestling Being The Only Real Contact Sport...Body to Body unlike Judo,Boxing or the so called "martial" Arts Or Even Rugby cum U.S Football...there Ain't no Race in Wrestling...
only Biff Bang Ouch and then hopefully Respect and even Friendship...
Last edited by magnus; 03-03-2008 at 02:11 PM.
Reason: correcting spelling and syntax.
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