NCAA Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 2012 to induct seven prior to National Championships in Pueblo
Courtesy: Anthony Sandstrom, CSU-Pueblo Assistant Athletic Director/Media Relations
PUEBLO, Colo. (GoThunderWolves.com – Feb. 28, 2012) – The NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches Association has announced the induction of seven individuals to the Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame, which includes three with ties to Colorado State University-Pueblo, three individuals from Colorado School of Mines, and a four-time All-American from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.
The induction ceremony will be held Thursday, March 8, at Mama's Italian Kitchen, 2928 N. Elizabeth St., in Pueblo, Colo. at 6 p.m. The ceremony is in conjunction with a reception for coaches and dignitaries particpating in the 50th Annual NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships, also held in Pueblo on March 9 and 10.
The 16th induction class to the Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame includes five individuals inducted into the "athletes" category and two entering the Hall as coaches.
Heading the class are former CSU-Pueblo national champions, Dax Charles (1991-94) and Chris Currier (1995-99). Charles, a three-time All-American and current head coach at Colorado State University-Pueblo, was the program's first Division II national champion, winning the 150-pound title in 1992, while Currier, also a three-time All-American, won the 149-pound title in 1999. Both were coached by fellow inductee, Doug Moses, who coached the ThunderWolves to seven Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championships from 1982-2001, also finishing second in the nation twice (1985, 1991). Moses, now the head coach at New Mexico Highlands University, has coached an unreal 73 All-Americans and 14 national champions.
Two Colorado School of Mines grapplers, former national champion, John Simpson (1996-99) and four-time All-American Glen Frank (1989-1993) will also be inducted, alongside their coach, Dan Lewis, who coached the Orediggers from 1992-2001 and 2007-10. Simpson, a three-time Academic All-American at academically-rigorous Mines, helped the Lewis-coached Orediggers achieve their highest national finish in school history (7th) in 1996, while Frank, a four-time Regional champion, blazed to a 121-20 career record at Mines. Both owe a great deal of their success to Lewis, the 1996 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Co-Coach of the Year, who coached four national champions and 10 All-Americans.
Rounding out the class is Barbush, who was the epitome of a "student-athlete," earning not only four All-American honors on the mat, but four first-team Academic All-American honors while at Pittsburgh-Johnstown from 1995-99. Part of two national championship squads (1996 and 1999), Barbush won the 165-pound title in 1999.
Tickets to the reception can be reserved for $20 by contacting CSU-Pueblo Ticket Manager, Ben LoCascio, at 719-549-2050 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline to RSVP is March 7.
For more information on each inductee, please see the inductee sketches below.
About the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships and the Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame:
The NCAA II National Wrestling Championships were first held in 1963. For the first 11 years, it was called the NCAA College Division Tournament. In 1974, when the NCAA started the divisional concept, approximately half of the College Division schools continued competing in the NCAA II Wrestling Championships and about half went into the NCAA III. Since 1963, 49 teams have been crowned national champions and 494 individual national championships have been awarded. The NCAA II Wrestling Coaches Association feels that it is important to honor the NCAA Division II coaches and wrestlers that have achieved greatness. These seven inductees will join the 89 inductees from the first 15 induction classes as Division II Wrestling Hall-of-Famers.
Troy Barbush, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (1995-99) – Wrestler
Manheim, Penn. native Troy Barbush truly left his mark on the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown wrestling program. Barbush ended his stellar Mountain Cat career as a four-time NCAA Division II All-American, a four-time National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) First-Team All-Academic Wrestling Team choice, an individual National Champion, and a member of Pitt-Johnstown's National Championship teams in 1996 and 1999.
After winning a PIAA State title at Manheim Central High School in 1994, Barbush brought his talents to Pitt-Johnstown to wrestler for Hall of Fame Coach Pat Pecora. Barbush red-shirted as a true freshman, before jumping right into the Mountain Cats' starting line-up as a red-shirt freshman in 1995-96 on his way to placing fifth at the National Tournament and helping Pitt-Johnstown claim its first ever team national championship.
Barbush continued to excel on the mat and in the classroom for Coach Pecora. He followed his first season up with three East Regional titles, two more fifth-place national finishes in 1997 and 1998, and two more NWCA First-Team All-Academic honors.
However, it was the 1998-99 season that put the finishing touches on his outstanding career. Barbush helped the Mountain Cats win the Division II National Duals Tournament, earned his third East Regional crown, and claimed the 1999 165-lb. national championship. His 8-4 win over Nebraska-Omaha's Chris Blair gave him his individual championship and secured Pitt-Johnstown's second team title in three years.
Barbush's 113 career victories still rank 12th on the Mountain Cat All-time Wins List, while his 34 regular season and 39 total wins in 1997-98 are still Mountain Cat records.
Barbush graduated from Pitt-Johnstown in 1999 with a degree in Elementary Education. For five years, he was an elementary school teacher and high school wrestling coach in Phoenix, AZ. He is currently a General Superintendent for Austin Electric Services L.L.C. in Phoenix and assistant Wrestling Coach at Grand Canyon University under Head Coach R.C. LaHaye.
Barbush, a 2011 Lancaster-Lebanon League Hall of Fame inductee, and his wife Jeni have two children, Gracey and Cael.
Dax Charles, University of Southern Colorado (CSU-Pueblo) (1991-94) – Wrestler
Dax Charles arrived at CSU-Pueblo (then-University of Southern Colorado) in 1989 after winning a state championship at John Ehret High School in Marrero, La., and quickly became one of the top collegiate wrestlers in the nation after being recruited to the University by coach Doug Moses.
During his freshman season in 1989-90, Charles battled for mat time with Craig McPherson to go 13-7. Undaunted, he returned for his Sophomore season and put up a 22-13 mark, but turned it on in a big way down the stretch, claiming his first All-American honor in 1991.
As a junior in 1992, he became the school's first NCAA Division II national champion when he won the crown at 150 pounds, defeating Ali Red Amiri-Eliasi of Nebraska-Kearney 6-4, finishing the season with a 27-7 record.
After missing the 1993 season with an injury, he returned to the mat in 1994 and showed he didn't miss a step. Posting his best regular season mark of 35-7, he was a perfect 12-0 in duals (one of just a handful of USC wrestlers to ever post perfect dual records throughout a season) and placing at a remarkable six tournaments throughout the season, including three tournament wins. After reaching the NCAA Division II regional championship match and finishing as a runner-up, he fell just short of the NCAA Division II title finishing fourth and attaining All-American status.
A three-time All-American at USC in 1991, 1992 and 1994 as well as an academic All-American in 1994, he would finish his collegiate career with a record of 97-34-2.
After remaining as USC's assistant coach under Doug Moses until the program's ouster in 2001, he was tasked to lead the program back to lofty heights after an eight-year hiatus when he was hired as head coach in 2008, returning to the profession after a career as a mentor to troubled youth. Building the program from scratch, Charles' squads have already netted one RMAC/Regional Champion (149-pounder Louie DeSantis in 2010), an All-American (Patrick Carey in 2011) and three national qualifiers (DeSantis, Justin Grant, and Patrick Carey).
In 2012, thanks in large part to his reputation in the NCAA Division II community, Charles helped Colorado State University-Pueblo secure the right to host the 2012 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships, marking the first time since 1998 and third time in school history that CSU-Pueblo had hosted the national championships event.
Charles received a bachelor's degree in recreation from the University of Southern Colorado in 1994. He also received a master's degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix in 2005.
Charles and his wife, Kim, have two children: daughters Skylar and Molly Jo. Charles' wife, the former Kim Lutgen, played basketball at USC before graduating from the school in 1997.
Chris Currier, University of Southern Colorado (CSU-Pueblo), (1994-99) – Wrestler
A four-time state champion at Colstrip High School in Colstrip, Mont., Chris Currier would go down in history as not only one of the finest wrestlers in the history of University of Southern Colorado wrestling, but also one of the top wrestlers in the history of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
As a freshman in 1995, Currier went an impressive 21-8, placing fourth at the RMAC/NCAA Division II West Regionals and establishing himself as a wrestler to watch in the future.
After taking a redshirt year in 1996, he went 16-8, taking over after an injury to Lyle Geyer at 142 pounds. Despite starting off the season a very average 5-3, he turned it on in a big way late in the season. He took third place at the RMAC/NCAA Division II West Regionals and battled his way to a 7th place national finish, earning All-American honors.
As a junior, he raised his level of competition to that of one of the best in the country, going a dominant 32-6, winning three tournament titles and leading the team in wins. Using the motivation of the fact that his own University of Southern Colorado would be hosting the 1998 national championships, he was one of three ThunderWolves to win RMAC/NCAA Division II West Regional championships (leading to a team RMAC title in the process) and falling just short of a national championship, losing to Mankato State's Troy Szydel on an injury default in the national championship match.
Focused on righting the wrongs of 1998, Currier accomplished the dream in 1999, going 26-6 at 149 pounds, winning a total of four tournament championships. He would win his second straight RMAC/NCAA Division II West Regional Championship, leading the ThunderWolves to its second straight RMAC title and qualifying for nationals for the third time.
At the 1999 national championships, Currier put together perhaps the most dominant tournament in school history, not only roaring to the national championship (the first since Dax Charles won the 150-pound title in 1992), but he would do so by recording three pins in the process, including a fall at 6:52 of Carson-Newman's Lozaro Reinso, a former Olympic Gold Medalist from Cuba, in the national title match.
With three All-American honors and a national title to his credit, Currier was honored in 2008 as an inductee on the RMAC All-Century Wrestling Team.
Glen Frank, Colorado School of Mines (1989-1993) – Wrestler
One of two athletes to capture four All-American awards for the Colorado School of Mines wrestling program, Glen Frank posted a 121-20 career record during his time as an Oredigger.
A valuable starter from the time he set foot on campus, Frank ended his freshman campaign with a 14-5 overall record, including a Western Regional Championship at 126 pounds and the first of four All-American honors after finishing sixth at the NCAA Division II National Championships.
As a sophomore, Frank finished with one of the highest single-season win totals in CSM history after recording a 40-8 overall record (.833 win percentage) en route to his second-straight Western Regional Championship (134 pounds) and All-American laurel after finishing seventh at the NCAA Division II National Championships.
Frank continued to improve over his career, and as a junior in 1990-91 he posted a 41-5 overall record (.891 win percentage), including a third-straight Western Regional Championship (134 pounds) and a runner-up finish at the NCAA Division II National Championships – his third All-American honor in as many seasons.
As a senior during the 1992-93 season, Frank finished 26-2 overall on the way to a fourth-straight Western Regional Championship (134 pounds), a fourth-straight All-American honor and his first career NCAA Division II National Championship. He was also won the Most Falls in the Least Time Trophy at the National Tournament that season.
Following his collegiate career, Frank was also a gold medalist at the 1994 Pan-American Games in Greco Roman wrestling (57 kg) in addition to being a three-time Olympic Team Alternate (1988, 1992, 1996) in Greco Roman wrestling.
Always a competitor, Frank was a place winner at 18 different national wrestling championship tournaments in three different styles and was also a finisher at the Leadville Trail 100-Mile footrace.
A 1994 Colorado School of Mines graduate with a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering, Frank went on to receive his master's degree in Engineering from CSM in 1998. From there, he embarked on a professional career that saw him first become an engineer and later a manager in the tunneling and underground construction industry.
A 2001 Colorado School of Mines Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, Frank is the author of over 20 papers that have been presented at national and international tunnel industry conferences.
He and his wife, Pamela, have four children: Coralyn, Lillianna, Mica and Allison.
Dan Lewis, Colorado School of Mines (1992-2001 and 2007-2010) – Coach
Lewis began his wrestling career at Fountain Valley High School and captured the California Interscholastic Federation championship in 1971 while posting a 30-0 record with 23 pins. Lewis proceeded to take third place at the high school national tournament held at Oklahoma State University.
Lewis began his collegiate career at Orange Coast Community College, where he recorded 42 falls in two seasons. A two-time All-American at Orange Coast C.C., Lewis transferred to Cal State - Fullerton for his final two seasons.
At Cal State - Fullerton, Lewis was selected as the team's Most Outstanding Wrestler in 1975 and 1976, capturing conference titles both years (177 pounds). Lewis was 17-0-1 in duals in 1976 and qualified for the NCAA Championships in 1977. Lewis left the program with a school-record 30 career pins and an overall record of 67-6-1 in two seasons.
Lewis' coaching career began at Louisiana State University, where he was an assistant coach from 1980-82. Lewis served as the head coach at Cal State - Fullerton for the next 10 seasons, leading the Titans into the NCAA Top 25 in 1990 and 1991. Seven of Lewis' wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Championships in 1991, and the team finished with a 13-8 record.
Dan Lewis spent 13 seasons as the head coach at Colorado Mines before retiring after the 2009-10 season. He spent the 2010-11 season as an assistant coach on staff. Lewis, who returned for his second stint as the Orediggers' head coach in 2007-08, also served in the same capacity at CSM from 1992-93 to 2001-02. Lewis relinquished his duties as CSM's
Associate Director of Athletics prior to the 2008-09 season. In 2007-08, CSM compiled a 4-6-0 record in RMAC duals (5-10-0 overall) and earned recognition on the National Wrestling Coaches Association's NCAA Division II All-Academic Top 15 Teams list.
The Orediggers, who came in at #15 on the NWCA's 2007-08 list, also landed four individuals on the 2007-08 NCAA Division II All-Academic Wrestling Teams (Cody Weitzel, Kellen Costelow, Chris Saykally, Bobby Strain). Four of Lewis' previous teams at CSM secured the NWCA's All-Academic Team Championship, and in the 15-year history of the award, no other school has won more All-Academic Team Championships than Colorado School of Mines, which has earned the honor on five occasions (1994-95, 1995-96, 1997-98, 1998-99 and 2005-06).
During his first 10 seasons guiding the Orediggers (1992-93 to 2001-02), Lewis coached four NCAA Division II National Champions and 10 All-Americans. After leading the Orediggers to a seventh-place finish at the 1996 NCAA Division II National Championships, Lewis was named the NCAA Division II Coach of the Year. Even more, Lewis coached a pair of national champions and three All-Americans during the 1995-96 season.
He was named the RMAC Co-Coach of the Year in 1996.
Lewis resides in Golden, Colo. with his wife, Megan. The couple has a son, Dylan, and a daughter, Serena.
Doug Moses, University of Southern Colorado (CSU-Pueblo), 1982-2001; New Mexico Highlands, 2005-Present – Coach
Moses started his wrestling career at West Waterloo High School in Iowa, wrestling for possibly the greatest high school coach of all-time, the legendary Bob Siddens. Doug was a high school teammate and friend of Dan Gable, undoubtedly the greatest college wrestling coach of all-time. He was a three time Iowa state finalist, winning the championship as a senior in 1969. He was recruited to wrestle at Iowa State by Harold Nichols, where he joined his high school teammate Dan Gable. After sharing mat time with teammates that won three NCAA Division I team titles, he transferred to Adams State College to wrestle for his brother, Coach Gene Moses. Doug won the 1972 NAIA National Championship at 142 pounds, and his brother's team claimed the team title. His exposure to Siddens, Nichols, Gable and his brother Gene Moses prepared him well for the coaching profession.
After starting the University of Southern Colorado (now CSU-Pueblo) team in 1982, Moses amassed 12 top 10 teams, eight top five teams, and two national runner-up teams (1985, 1991). Along with those accolades, he also made the current CSU-Pueblo Coach and 2012 Hall of Fame inductee, Dax Charles, a National Champion and three-time All-American. He also coached fellow 2012 inductee, Chris Currier, also a three-time All-American and national champion, as well as the iconic Chuck Pipher, a three-time national champion and NAIA Hall of Famer.
During the 1980's, Moses organized the All Star RMAC team to go to Hungary and Bulgaria on two separate occasions.
Following his 20-year coaching career at Southern Colorado, after which budget constraints forced the program to be eliminated in 2001, he jumped at the opportunity to begin the wrestling program at New Mexico Highlands in 2005. At Highlands, he has coached an additional nine All-Americans and three national champions.
In total, Moses has coached 31 RMAC individual champions, 11 NCAA Western Regional champions and has hosted the National Tournament twice while at Southern Colorado (1994 and 1998). He has earned RMAC Coach of the Year, NCAA Regional Coach of the Year and Colorado Collegiate Coach of the Year multiple times.
In his career, Moses has amassed a total of seven RMAC Championships, four Western Regional Championships, created 73 All Americans, and 14 National Champions in his 40 years of coaching.
In 2011, Moses was inducted as just the third coach ever into the CSU-Pueblo Athletics Hall of Fame.
John Simpson, Colorado School of Mines (1996-1999) – Wrestler
When John Simpson graduated from Colorado School of Mines in 1999 with a degree in civil engineering, he had already left his mark on the Mines wrestling program. A four-year letterwinner on the Orediggers wrestling squad, Simpson posted a 69-29 record during his last three seasons.
Simpson finished second at the RMAC Tournament as a freshman and was part of the Colorado School of Mines wrestling squad that finished seventh at the 1996 NCAA Division II National Championships – the highest finish for a Mines team since taking fourth in 1964.
Simpson posted a 20-15 record during his second year, including a fourth-place finish at the Western Regional and a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Tournament – earning him his first career All-American honor. The consummate student-athlete, Simpson also earned his first of three Academic All-American honors during his sophomore campaign.
As a junior during the 1997-98 season, Simpson posted a 21-10 record that included a first-place finish at the Western Regional and a National Championship at 184 pounds – the seventh individual national champion in the history of the Colorado School of Mines wrestling program. Simpson earned his second All-American honor in two seasons and was also named an Academic All-American for the second time in as many years. He was also named CSM's Male RMAC Honor Student-Athlete.
As a senior at 184 pounds, Simpson finished second at the Western Regional before finishing third at the 1999 NCAA Championships – his third-straight NCAA All-American honor. With his collegiate wrestling career over, Simpson was showered with many academic honors including being named an Academic All-American for the third-straight year, being named the Colorado School of Mines Outstanding Graduating Scholar-Athlete and being named the Colorado School of Mines Outstanding Graduating Civil Engineer. Also in 1999, Simpson was a Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Citation Winner as well as CSM's RMAC Honor Student-Athlete for the second time in as many seasons.
After graduating from CSM in 1999, Simpson went on to earn his master's degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Mich.
He was inducted into the Colorado School of Mines Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999 and now works as a civil engineer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He is an Engineers Without Borders member and was a Peace Corps Volunteer and spent his service time in Honduras.
He is married to CSM assistant women's soccer coach Kate Cortis and the couple resides in Golden, Colo.