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Oklahoma Chapter Official State Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Oklahoma Chapter Official State Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

STILLWATER, Okla. – Seven contributors to the sport of wrestling will be honored Sunday, Oct. 7, by the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Dr. Tom Allen, Wilton Conine, Stan Deardeuff, John Finn, Danny Kendle, Mike Kirk, and Eddie Sullivan will be honored with a banquet and induction ceremony in Oklahoma City at the Jim Thorpe Museum. A cocktail hour will begin at 3 p.m. with dinner and the ceremony to follow at 4 p.m.

Reservations are $50 per person and are available online at www.ok-nwhof.ticketleap.com and are being accepted at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater.

All seven of this year’s honorees will be inducted with Lifetime Service to Wrestling Awards, an honor given annually to those coaches, officials and contributors who have given a minimum of 20 years of service to the sport of wrestling, to their communities, and, most importantly, to the young people they have coached, taught and inspired.

To attend the banquet register online at www.ok-nwhof.ticketleap.com or call 405-377-5243.

Dr. Tom Allen found the sport of wrestling in 1975 when he started a kids wrestling program in Western Springs, Illinois. He assisted the principal of McClure Junior High as the program took root with his seven-year-old son, Rod, as one of the first participants. Allen eventually became the wrestling physician for Lyons Township High School in La Grange, Illinois. He was the wrestling physician for both Camden and Sterling high schools in New Jersey (1987-1991) before relocating to Oklahoma in 1991. Allen served with Dr. Don Cooper on the bench as a doctor for Oklahoma State wrestling before becoming the team physician for the Cowboys in 1998, a position he still holds.

Wilton “Wilt” Conine graduated from Ponca City High School in 1957 where he was a three-time placer at the Oklahoma state wrestling tournament and a two-time state champion. Conine won over 50 tournaments during the course of his competitive wrestling career. He received a wrestling scholarship at Oklahoma State but an injury kept him from continuing his career as a Cowboy wrestler. Conine led his YMCA teams to the Southwest Area Championship for eight years and coached Hoover Junior High School in Oklahoma City to three undefeated seasons during his nine years. He also coached baseball, football, track, and wrestling in Ponca City.

Stan Deardeuff graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1959. Along with Lelan Clark, Deardeuff formed the Allstate Wrestling Association in 1975 for the purpose of conducting an annual state wrestling tournament that was open to all junior high wrestlers. The first tournament, held at Lloyd Noble Arena on the campus of Oklahoma University, drew 482 wrestlers. In addition to presiding over the association he also served as tournament chair. Deardeuff retired in 1995 after 20 years of service. He also organized and conducted tournaments for junior wrestlers at the Northside YMCA in Oklahoma City and, while serving as president of the OKC Northeast High School Athletic Club, organized and conducted fundraising tournaments and the All City High School tournament.

Prior to a 27 year coaching career, John Finn capped off a successful collegiate wrestling career as an All-American on the University of Central Oklahoma’s 1979 NAIA championship team. Finn began his coaching career assisting legendary coach Byron Graham at Edmond Memorial High School. He left Edmond in 1983 to assume the head coaching position for wrestling at Chickasha High School. His teams had two individual state champions and nine state place winners during his four years at Chickasha. Moore returned to his hometown in preparation for the opening of Westmoore High School in 1988. Finn’s teams produced 11 individual state champions, 32 state place winners, 11 district team titles, a state runner-up finish in 2000 and runner-up finishes at the state duals in 2000 and 2002.

Danny Kendle began his wrestling career in 1961 in Ponca City before moving to Stillwater in 1970. He was a three-year letterman, a two-time state qualifier, and a state place winner in 1974. Kendle competed for Augustana College during the 1975 season before returning to Stillwater to finish school at Oklahoma State. He has been the middle school and high school wrestling coach at Pawnee High for 28 years. Kendle started the program in 1983. During that time he has coached 105 state qualifiers, 15 individual state champions, 14 state runners-up, and 47 state medalists. His teams have been the 2A state team runners-up twice (1995, 2005). Kendle’s teams have also been academic state champions four times (1989-1991, 2000).

Mike Kirk has a long and distinguished career promoting the sport of wrestling. Kirk began as a student worker in the sports information office at Oklahoma State from 1978 through 1982 and he was in charge of the wrestling publicity his last three years (1979-82). He became the sports information director at the University of Central Oklahoma in 1987 and now serves as the director of media relations for the university. Kirk has also covered the NCAA Division II National Duals and the National Championships for Amateur Wrestling News for the last 15 years. He is serving in his third year as a member of the NCAA Division I Championship Committee. In addition to his work with UCO, Kirk has been the NCAA Division II team and individual rankings coordinator since 1993. He also served as the press information manager for wrestling at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Eddie Sullivan was a member of the Oklahoma State wrestling team from 1971 through 1973 following an individual Oklahoma state wrestling championship in 1971. Sullivan transferred to the University of Central Oklahoma where he became an NAIA All-American in 1974. Following his athletic career Sullivan turned to coaching. Sullivan was the head wrestling coach at Cleveland Public Schools (1976-1978), the YMCA coach for Cushing Youth Wrestling (1982-1983), the head wrestling coach at Collinsville Public Schools (1983-1993), and an assistant wrestling coach at Sapulpa Public Schools (1993-1994). He then served as an assistant wrestling coach at Bristow from 1994 through 1998 before taking over as the head coach (1999-2010). Sullivan’s teams at Bristow won state tournament titles in 1996, 1997, 2000, and 2001. He also coached 32 individual state champions and five NCAA All-Americans.



This post was directly from http://nwhof.org/oklahoma/2012/09/26/oklahoma-chapter-of-nwhof-to-induct-seven-in-oklahoma-city/