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Former ISU wrestler, NCAA champ Veryl Long passes

Veryl Long (left) wrestling Bobby Douglas (Photo/National Wrestling Hall of Fame)

Veryl Long, Big 8 and NCAA wrestling champion for Iowa State who later became a high school and college coach, has passed away.

A native of Pennsylvania, Veryl Long, Sr., received a full scholarship to Iowa State in 1962, wrestling for legendary head coach Harold Nichols. As a Cyclone, Long won the 147-pound title at the 1963 Big 8 conference championships, defeating Bob Dupree of the University of Oklahoma. Long was also a three-time NCAA All-American, placing third at the 1963 NCAAs, and fourth at the Nationals the following year. At the 1965 NCAAs at University of Wyoming, Long defeated Joe Bavaro of Gettysburg, 5-0, 0-0 SRD (split referee decision) in the finals to win the 147-pound championship. Long completed his collegiate career with a 95-4 overall record.

Prior to heading west to Iowa State, Veryl Long had already built an impressive wrestling resume. He wrestled at Trinity High School in Pittsburgh, compiling a 65-2 record. He was a two-time WPIAL (Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League) and Regional champ in 1955 and 1956. Long placed twice at the Pennsylvania state wrestling championships, coming in second at 138 pounds in 1955, and winning the state title at 145 pounds as a senior in 1956.

After graduating from high school, Long entered the U.S. Army. While at Fort Knox in Kentucky, Long won the post championships in freestyle and Greco-Roman titles at 147 pounds. From 1958-1960, Long was a member of the All-Army wrestling team. He was a member of the 1959 Pan-American wrestling team, and was an alternate on the 1960 U.S. Olympic wrestling team.

Having completed his military service and earning his college degree from Iowa State, Veryl Long then shared his experience and knowledge as a competitor as a coach, first as an assistant at Montclair State College in New Jersey, then as head coach of the now-defunct wrestling program at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. For nearly a decade in the late 1980s into the 1990s, Long was head wrestling coach at Carrick High School in Pittsburgh, where he coached 46 Pittsburgh city champions and 24 runners-up. He retired from coaching in 1997, and had served as a PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association) for 14 years.

For all his accomplishments as a wrestler and coach, Veryl Long has been welcomed into a number of halls of fame, including the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame in 1987, the Pennsylvania Sports Wrestling Hall of Fame Washington-Greene Chapter in 2001, the Trinity High School Hall of Fame in 2012, and the Iowa State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013.

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