Wrestling Hall of Fame award winners

National Wrestling Hall of Fame names award winners for 2007 induction as Fogleman, Novogratz, Chapman, Russell and Allen to be honored

STILLWATER, OKLA. – The National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum have announced its major award winners for its 2007 Honors Weekend Banquet and Induction Ceremony June 2, 2007 in Stillwater, Okla.

The recipients of the special awards being presented include:

* Outstanding American – General Ronald R. Fogleman, USAF (Ret.) of Durango, Colo.

* Outstanding American – Michael E. Novogratz of New York, N.Y.

* Order of Merit – Mike Chapman of Newton, Iowa

* Medal of Courage – Joe Russell of Minneapolis, Minn.

* Lifetime Achievement for Officials – Mike Allen of Waterloo, Iowa

These awards are in addition to the induction of the Class of 2007 Distinguished Members, who were announced last week: Barry Davis of Madison, Wis., Greg Gibson of Fontana, Calif., Larry Kristoff of Anna, Ill. and William J. Weick of Chicago Ridge, Ill.

Outstanding Americans

The Hall of Outstanding Americans demonstrates wrestling’s pride in those who have used the disciplines of the sport to launch notable careers in other walks of life, such as science and technology, business and industry, government and the military, the arts and humanities, among others. New classes of these remarkable achievers are inducted annually.

Fogleman made his impact on our nation as a military leader. He served as the 15th Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, the highest leadership position and senior ranking officer in the USAF. He was the first U.S. Air Force Academy graduate to become Air Force Chief of Staff. A career officer in the USAF from 1963-1997, he also served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as a key advisor to the President of the United States, Secretary of Defense and the National Security Council. He has received numerous decorations throughout his brilliant military career, receiving medals, ribbons, awards and citations for his achievements. Since retiring from the service, Fogleman became Chairman and CEO of Durango Aerospace Inc., a consulting company, and has served as an advisory and board member for numerous corporations.

Fogleman was a successful wrestler for Juniata High School in Mifflingtown, Pa., where he was team captain as a senior and won regional and sectional tournaments. He competed at many weights from 154 pounds through heavyweight depending upon where the team needed him in the lineup. He was also a member of the varsity wrestling team as a Cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Novogratz has been a leader in the financial services industry. He is co-President of Fortress Investment Group, a $29 billion global asset management firm, where he heads its global investing strategies. Previously, he served 11 years with Goldman Sachs, where he became a partner in 1998. He served as the firm’s head of risk in Asia, as well as becoming president of Goldman Sachs Latin America in 2000. Before entering finance, Novogratz was a helicopter pilot for the U.S. Army.

He was a 1983 high school state wrestling runner-up in Virginia. At Princeton Univ., he served as team captain, and was a two-time All-Ivy selection, EIWA place winner and NCAA qualifier. He serves as Chairman of the Board for the Beat The Streets Program in New York City, which funds and develops middle school and high school wrestling teams in city schools. Novogratz has helped raise over $2 million for the program, the largest contribution to any sport in the history of New York City’s public schools. Novogratz is also a significant contributor to Princeton wrestling. He and his wife have made a commitment to philanthropy, focusing on both domestic and international issues.

Order of Merit

The Order of Merit is presented to an individual who has made significant contribution to the advancement of wrestling, other than success as an athlete or coach. The winner is selected by a vote of the Distinguished Members of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Chapman, a professional journalist, has been a leader within the sport with a focus on promotion. He has impacted wrestling as a publisher, author, historian, publicist and speaker. Chapman had a successful 35-year career as a journalist, holding positions as Sports Editor, Editor, Managing Editor, Executive Editor and Publisher at a variety of newspapers in the Midwest. For two years (1986-88), Chapman served as Director of Communications for USA Wrestling.

He became the most prolific author about wrestling, penning 13 books about the sport. In 1993, Mike created W.I.N. Magazine, a newspaper dedicated to covering all levels of the sport. He created the International Wrestling Institute and Museum, which opened in Newton, Iowa, in 1998 and recently moved to Waterloo, Iowa, where it is named after legend Dan Gable. He also created the WIN Memorabilia Show, an annual showcase of wrestling memorabilia and products, held during the NCAA Div. I Wrestling Championships. Chapman also promotes wrestling through the marketing of posters. He has given speeches on wrestling history to hundreds of groups. Considered a wrestling expert and historian, he has appeared on numerous radio talk shows and television broadcasts to talk about the sport. Chapman has written hundreds of columns on wrestling in numerous publications during his career.

Medal of Courage

The Medal of Courage is presented annually to a wrestler or former wrestler who has overcome what appear to be insurmountable challenges, which may be physical, mental or other handicaps that make his or her achievements all the more uplifting.

Joe Russell has built an outstanding career as a college wrestling coach and attorney, with many other activities that has impacted society, in spite of extreme physical challenges caused by a terrible motorcycle accident. Russell was one of the nation’s top high school wrestling stars, winning two state titles and earning a 90-1 record through his junior year at Gresham High School in Oregon. Russell won major competitions such as the Junior Nationals and the Espoir Nationals, and competed on U.S. Schoolboy and Espoir World Teams. While still in high school, Russell earned national rankings in Greco-Roman on the Senior level. The motorcycle accident was severe, almost taking his life and leaving Russell with numerous physical challenges.

Although his recovery was grueling, Russell did not allow this to stop him from achieving, both on and off the mat. He went on the Univ. of Minnesota, where competed on the wrestling team, served as team captain and made the All-Big Ten Academic Team. Russell went on to receive a law degree from Minnesota in 1995 and a Masters degree in sports management in 1996. Russell served two years as the Marketing and Promotions Manager for the Univ. of Minnesota wrestling team, and has since served as Assistant Wrestling Coach for the Gophers for the last 11 years. Working along with head coach J Robinson and the other Gopher coaches, Russell’s leadership has allowed Minnesota to finish in the top-three at the NCAA Championships eight of the last 10 years. He also taught within the kinesiology department at the U of M as well as directed studies courses.

Russell has also coached with the Minnesota Storm club, developing numerous age-group national champions and All-Americans and winning four FILA Junior National Team titles for the club. He has had numerous international coaching assignments with USA Wrestling, coaching the 1999 Cadet World Team and the 2000 Pan American Junior Team. Russell has coached U.S. teams in Venezuela, Hungary and Denmark, as well as U.S. teams in dual meets against Germany and Cuba. He was named 1999 USA Wrestling FILA Junior/University Person of the Year.

Lifetime Achievement for Officials

This award recognizes outstanding service as a wrestling or pairing official or judge. Inductees are honored in the Vince Zuaro Officials Room at the Museum.

Allen is considered one of the top college and high school wrestling referees in the nation. He has been a referee at 15 NCAA Div. I National Wrestling Championships, along with numerous major conference tournaments. Allen has been a wrestling referee for more than 26 years, also working on the high school level. Allen has worked 20 Iowa State High School Championships, as well as a number of national high school wrestling competitions. He was voted Iowa Wrestling Official of the Year in 1980, 1987 and 1992.

Allen was the first African-American in Iowa to officiate wrestling at any level, and the first African-American in Iowa to be selected to the Iowa State Officials Hall of Fame. He wrestled for Chuck Patten at University of Northern Iowa where he was a conference champion at 190 pounds. He has also been a successful high school wrestling coach, and now serves as athletic director at his alma mater of Waterloo East High School.

Expanded biographies on each of these National Wrestling Hall of Fame award winners will be posted on TheMat.com from Monday through Friday next week.

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Gary Abbott