Cal Poly wrestler, 1964 Olympian Pat Lovell passes

Pat Lovell, wrestler for Cal Poly in the late 1950s who was a member of the Greco-Roman wrestling team at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, passed away Thursday, Nov. 29 in Santa Cruz, Calif., the university in San Luis Obispo announced Nov. 30. He was 81.

Born in Richmond, Calif. on Nov. 1, 1937, Patrick Lovell started his athletic career at Sequoia High School in Redwood City, Calif. He wrestled for the Cal Poly Mustangs in the late 1950s, where he was a four-year starter, earning three Pacific Coast Intercollegiate heavyweight wrestling titles. (As member of the Mustang football team, Lovell played right tackle alongside college roommate -- and future NFL Hall of Fame honoree -- John Madden.)

In addition to competing in folkstyle wrestling in high school and at Cal Poly, Lovell made a name for himself in both freestyle and Greco-Roman competition. In addition to being a multi-time placer at National AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) championships, Lovell earned a place on the U.S. Greco-Roman wrestling squad for the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. The 6'0" Lowell competed at light heavyweight (214 pounds/97 kilograms) but did not place, according to Olympic Sports-Reference.

After graduation, Lovell started coaching at James Lick High School in San Jose, where he coached, among others, future NFL quarterback Jim Plunkett. Staying in California, Lovell then moved to Monte Vista High School and then Cabrillo Community College where he coached both wrestling and football. He officiated wrestling meets and tournaments for over 40 years, including officiating at 17 NCAA and 17 U.S. National Championships.

Lovell received numerous honors for his long and distinguished career in sports. He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as an official in 1995, the Cal Poly Athletics Hall of Fame in 1989, and the California Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2000.

In addition to his involvement as an athlete, coach and official, Lowell also served as commissioner of the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League for nearly three decades until his retirement a year ago.

"He's one of the greatest all-time at Cal Poly for what he has done, the Olympics, national teams and his coaching," said former Mustang wrestling coach Lennis Cowell. "He exemplifies what a great Cal Poly guy he was. He definitely will be missed by all."

"He never grew up," Duane Morgan, commissioner of the California Interscholastic Federation's Central Coast Section and a former wrestling official with Lovell, told Jim Seimas of the Santa Cruz Sentinel. "He saw happiness in everything. He loved the kids. What a great life that is."

Pat Lovell is survived by his wife of 51 years, Joy; son, Bobby; two daughters, Sarah and Allison; and several grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are pending.


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