Ten years ago, Dave's life was taken in a senseless, bizarre murder that sounds straight out of a really awful movie. Only this was really awful real life.
RevWrestling.com seeks to pay tribute to Dave Schultz with a series of articles that address various aspects of his life and legacy. In the two previous chapters, we've shared the thoughts of friends and family. This segment focuses on the lasting legacies of Dave Schultz… and how his memory lives on in events and awards that bear his name, and in wrestlers who competed at the Dave Schultz Wrestling Club and as members of Team Foxcatcher.
Dave SchultzA decade after his murder, Dave Schultz continues to live in the hearts of wrestlers and wrestling fans, thanks in large part to his incredible wrestling talent, and even more generous soul.
In addition, the memory of Dave lives on in a number of ways, including events and awards named in his honor … as well as in all the great athletes who were once teammates at Foxcatcher where Dave coached, and the wrestlers who competed for the Dave Schultz Wrestling Club.
Events and Awards Carry on Dave's Name
The Dave Schultz Memorial International Championships: In 1999, this event was established by USA Wrestling and Nancy Schultz to honor Dave's love of international competition. After one year at Fort Carson, Colorado, the event moved to the US Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs where it has been held each year since.
On February 2-4, the 2006 Dave Schultz Memorial brought together some of the world's best wrestlers in freestyle and Greco-Roman competition. Fourteen US wrestlers won gold medals, along with competitors from Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Sweden, and Uzbekistan.
In men's freestyle, all seven champs were from the US: Matt Azevedo at 55kg/121 lbs, Mike Zadick at 60kg/132 lbs, Chris Bono at 66kg/145.5 lbs, Joe Williams at 74kg/163 lbs, Mo Lawal at 84kg/185 lbs, Nick Preston at 76kg/211.5 lbs, and Tolly Thompson at 120kg/264 lbs.
There was a bit more international flavor in the men's Greco-Roman titlewinners. Gold medalists from the US include Lindsey Durlacher at 55kg/121 lbs, Harry Lester at 66kg/145.5 lbs, and TC Dantzler at 74kg/163 lbs. Other gold medal winners include Uzbekistani wrestlers Dilchod Aripov of Uzbekistan at 60kg/132 lbs and Denis Zdonikov at 84kg/185 lbs, Sweden's Jimmy Lidberg at 96kg/211.5 lbs, and David Vala of the Czech Republic at 120kg/264 lbs.
Team USA won half of the gold medals available in women's freestyle competition: Stephanie Murata at 48kg/105.5 lbs, Patricia Miranda at 51kg/112 lbs, Alaina Benrube at 63kg/138.5lbs, and Kristie Marano at 67kg/147.5 lbs. Canada claimed two gold: Tonya Verbeek at 55kg/121 lbs, and Breanne Graham at 59kg/130 lbs. Bulgaria's Stanka Zlateva Hristova won the gold medal at 72kg/158 lbs.
USA Wrestling Dave Schultz State Championships in California: In a fitting tribute to the Palo Alto native, California USA Wrestling named its annual Kids/Cadet State Championships in honor of Dave Schultz. In 2006, the event will be held on May 12-14 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose.
Dave Schultz High School Excellence Awards: To honor an outstanding high school senior wrestler, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Stillwater, Oklahoma has established this annual award, which is based equally on outstanding wrestling success, scholastic achievement, and citizenship or community service. Candidates are chosen at the state and regional levels, with a national winner being presented at the Hall of Fame's Honors Weekend each summer.
Past national winners of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award include: Dave Kjeldaard (from Iowa) in 1996, Jeff Knupp (Ohio) in 1997, Justin Ruiz (Utah) and Garrett Lowney (Minnesota) in 1998, Zach Robertson (Kansas) at 1999, Ben Connell (South Carolina) in 2000, Steve Mocco (New Jersey) in 2001, Teyon Ware (Oklahoma) in 2002, C.P. Schlatter (Ohio) in 2003, Coleman Scott (Pennsylvania) in 2004, and Troy Nickerson (New York) in 2005.
The Dave Schultz Wrestling Club
The Dave Schultz Wrestling Club (DSWC) was established in March 1996 by Dave's widow Nancy to honor the memory of her husband … and to provide support and opportunities for Team Foxcatcher wrestlers and other friends of Dave who needed a place to practice after Dave's murder.
During its ten years of existence, the DSWC -- a part of the Dave Schultz Wrestling Foundation -- helped to develop hundreds of wrestlers, many who made names for themselves in the highest levels of freestyle and Greco-Roman competition in the US and around the world … as well as in other sporting endeavors.
The mission statement at the DSWC Web site says, "Athletes who are chosen to represent the DSWC display the kind of character, sportsmanship and devotion to wrestling that were trademarks of Dave Schultz. The Dave Schultz Wrestling Foundation is committed to improving wrestling in the US, developing outstanding athletes and creating role models and citizens for the future."
In the spring of 2005, it was announced that the senior-level national program of the Dave Schultz Wrestling Club would not continue after the conclusion of the 2004-2005 USA Wrestling international season. In a quote from a USA Wrestling announcement dated April 22, 2005, Nancy Schultz said, "Wrestling in the US today is stronger and more vital than I have ever seen. There are more clubs and support for our national teams than at any other point in my lifetime. It is with this knowledge that I am choosing to close the doors of the Dave Schultz Wrestling Foundation. I have poured my heart and soul into this program, but now, for many personal reasons, it is time for me to turn my attention back to my family. They need my help and support right now."
Later in that same announcement, Nancy Schultz is quoted as saying, "I am proud of the legacy of the Dave Schultz Wrestling Foundation. In March of 1996, my goal was to sponsor the twenty athletes left behind in the way of the tragedy at Foxcatcher. My goal was to find support for six months for the athletes to have funding, coaches, facilities and equipment to make it to the Olympic Trials for the Atlanta Olympic Games. To say the very least, we surpassed our six-month projection."
The affiliate sites -- located at college campuses across the nation – continue to use the Dave Schultz Wrestling Club identity for their club programs. In addition, the foundation continues to support special events and projects, including the Dave Schultz Memorial Invitational Tournament.
DSWC's Olympians and World Champions
Among the world-class competitors to come out of the Dave Schultz Wrestling Club, a handful has wrestled in and won at the Olympics and World Championships.
Within months of its founding, DSWC wrestler Kurt Angle won the gold medal in 100 kg/220 pound freestyle competition at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Four years later, DSWC team member Brandon Slay was awarded the gold medal in freestyle at 76 kg/167.5 pounds at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
At the 2004 Olympics in Athens – the first modern Olympics to feature women's freestyle wrestling -- Patricia Miranda claimed the bronze medal in the 48 kg/105.5 lb weight class.
Other Dave Schultz wrestlers who competed in the Olympics include Cary Kolat in freestyle and Heath Sims in Greco-Roman at the 2000 Olympics, and Tela O'Donnell at the 2004 Olympics.
In addition to these Olympians, the DSWC can also claim Stephen Neal, who was crowned the freestyle super-heavyweight champ at the 1999 World Championships in Ankara, Turkey.
Updates on Some DSWC Wrestlers
Veterans of the Dave Schultz Wrestling Club continue to do great things in the wrestling world … and beyond.
Danielle Hobeika brings a unique perspective to wrestling photography as someone who competes as a freestyle wrestler. When she's not on the mat, she's at the mat's edge, capturing the action at major amateur wrestling events and the 2005 season of Real Pro Wrestling. She also designs and maintains a number of wrestling-related Web sites, including homepages for top competitors and the AmateurWrestlingPhotos.com Web site.
Jesse Jantzen has some considerable firsts in the first quarter-century of his life: first-ever four-time New York State high school champion … first NCAA champ from Harvard in 60+ years (2004) … one of the first five World University Games champs from the US (winning gold in 2005) … and a competitor in the first season of Real Pro Wrestling. Jantzen continues to compete and assist with coaching at his college alma mater.
Mary Kelly -- who wrestled at Mahomet-Seymour high school in Illinois -- is currently ranked second at 51kg/112 lbs on the US women's freestyle team.
Cary KolatCary Kolat now heads up grassroots marketing efforts for Sharpie and Paper Mate pens as Marketing Director, Wrestling. This legendary four-time Pennsylvania high school state champ and two-time NCAA titlist for Penn State and Lock Haven continues to support wrestling with marketing programs directed to participants and fans of the sport, as well as by sponsoring major wrestling events such as the annual Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic featuring the best high school seniors from Pennsylvania taking on the nation's best wrestlers. Kolat was also recognized as the best high school wrestler over the past 20 years by RevWrestling.com.
Patricia Miranda isn't sitting on her laurels as the very first woman to win an Olympic medal for the US. This DSWC alum and Stanford grad -- who wrestled on the men's team -- also earned a gold medal at the 2003 Pan American Games, and was named 2004 Woman of the Year by USA Wrestling. Fittingly, she won the 51kg/112 lb championship at the 2006 Dave Schultz Memorial Invitational, and was named outstanding woman wrestler. If this weren't enough, Miranda is enrolled in law school at Yale.
Stephen Neal just completed his fourth year as offensive guard for the New England Patriots. In addition to his two back-to-back NCAA heavyweight titles while at Cal State Bakersfield (1998 and 1999) and his 1999 World Championship gold medal, Neal now owns two NFL Super Bowl championship rings.
Tela O'Donnell -- an Alaska native who represented the US at the 2004 Olympics -- is currently ranked second at 59kg/130 lbs on the US women's freestyle world team.
Tommy Rowlands -- a two-time NCAA heavyweight champ for Ohio State in 2002 and 2004 -- won the 2005 World University Games 96 kg/211 lb freestyle championship, only the third American to achieve this honor. In addition to his freestyle career, Rowlands is now working for the Buckeye wrestling program, and competed in the 2005 season of Real Pro Wrestling.
Brandon Slay was the first Texan to win a wrestling gold medal in the history of the modern Olympics. A Texas high school state champ from Amarillo, Slay was a two-time NCAA finalist from the University of Pennsylvania. This graduate of Penn's prestigious Wharton School of Business now manages his Greater Gold foundation, and is a motivational speaker.
Dan Wirnsberger -- a three-time All American, 1995 Big Ten champ and NCAA finalist at 158 pounds for Michigan State -- served as an assistant coach at Virginia Tech and head coach at Bloomsburg before becoming head wrestling coach at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania in 2005.
In addition, a number of wrestlers who competed for the Dave Schultz Wrestling Club were participants in the first official season of Real Pro Wrestling. In fact, of the 56 wrestlers competing in Real Pro Wrestling in 2005, more than 10% were DSWC alumni, including Eric Akin, Tim Dernlan, Jared Frayer, Jesse Jantzen, Brian Keck, Tommy Rowlands, Scott Schatzman, and Ryan Tobin.
Catching Up With Some Foxcatcher Vets
Team Foxcatcher will always be associated with the murder of its last coach, Dave Schultz. However, a number of wrestlers who were part of this program achieved greatness in their wrestling careers and in life off the mats.
Kurt Angle may well be today the most widely-recognized wrestler to come out of the Foxcatcher program. A two-time NCAA heavyweight champ for Clarion University in the early 1990s, Angle won the gold at the 1996 Olympics. He tried his hand as a TV sportscaster in his native Pittsburgh … then entered the world of professional wrestling, where he became a WWE champ. In March 2005, Angle was one of only fifteen college wrestlers to be named to the NCAA 75th Anniversary Team in an online vote of wrestling fans.
Terry Brands -- a two-time NCAA champ for the University of Iowa in the early 1990s -- claimed a bronze medal in freestyle competition at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. For three years, Terry had been head wrestling coach at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga; in 2005, he became resident coach at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
Tom Brands -- twin brother of Terry, and three-time NCAA champ at Iowa -- won the gold medal in freestyle competition at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. After working as an assistant coach for the Hawkeyes, Tom Brands is now the head coach at Virginia Tech. Tom was named to the NCAA 75th Anniversary Team at the 2005 NCAAs.
Dan Chaid -- a four-time All-American and 190 lb NCAA champ for the Oklahoma Sooners in 1985 -- spent nine years at Foxcatcher … then the next decade at the Dave Schultz club. Chaid is now a history teacher at Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California where he had been wrestling coach until a year ago. Real Pro Wrestling fans will remember Chaid as the coach of the California Claw during the 2005 season.
Glenn Goodman -- a four-time Florida high school state champ and Pan Am Games gold medalist -- is now director of Pride Wrestling Camps in Clearwater, Florida.
Jim HumphreyJim Humphrey -- a Big Ten champ in 1972 and two-time World Team member -- was hired as head coach at Indiana University in 1985 … then became coach at Foxcatcher from 1989 to 1992. After leaving Foxcatcher, Humphrey worked for Johnson & Johnson but recently re-entered the wrestling world as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Ohio State.
Kevin Jackson -- who was kicked out of Foxcatcher by John du Pont -- won a freestyle gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics … along with two additional world titles, making him one of only five US wrestlers to earn three world-level titles. After a stint as a no-holds-barred competitor, Jackson is now US Olympic freestyle team coach.
Valentin Jordanov was a seven-time world champion and two-time Olympic medalist, winning a bronze medal in 1992, and gold in 1996 for his native Bulgaria. Jordanov is now president of the Bulgarian Wrestling Federation.
Andre Metzger -- a two-time NCAA champ for Oklahoma at 142 pounds in 1981 and 1982 -- won three US Senior National freestyle titles as well as a US Senior National Greco title.
Jim Pearson came to Foxcatcher after wrestling for Jim Humphrey at Indiana University. Pearson is now CEO for Suros Surgical Systems Inc. in Indianapolis.
Greg Strobel -- a two-time 190-pound NCAA champ from Oregon State in 1973 and 1974 -- coached at Foxcatcher before being hired by Lehigh University in 1995, where he is now head coach.
Kirk Trost -- the 1986 NCAA heavyweight champ from the University of Michigan – wrestled for Team Foxcatcher starting in 1987 but usually worked out away from the du Pont estate. Trost is now a long-time assistant coach for the Wolverines.
This concludes our multi-part tribute to Dave Schultz … or does it? If you knew Dave Schultz and have stories to share, we may incorporate your memories into a future story. Please email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chapter 1: The Day Wrestling Died
Chapter 2: The Murderer, John du Pont
Chapter 3: Immediate Memories of Dave
Chapter 4: Smiling Back at a Life Remembered
Chapter 5: A Spirit That Lives On