TEMPE -- Charlie Tribble, one of the first All-Americans in Arizona State University wrestling history and a supporter of wrestling's growth in the Valley of the Sun, both on the collegiate and high school level, passed away on Saturday, October 17, at the age of 67. A native of Indio, Calif., Tribble came to Tempe in the early 1960s to compete for both the Sun Devil wrestling and football programs.
Tribble helped to make history for the program as he joined teammates Glenn McMinn Sr. and Buzz Hayes at the 1965 NCAA Wrestling Championships that were held at Wyoming with all three collecting All-America honors by placing in the Top 8 of the national tournament. In his lone season on the mats for the Sun Devils, Tribble competed at 177 pounds and won the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) title at his weight, making him the first African-American in program history to become a conference champion and an All-American.
Seeded third at his weight class, Tribble received a bye in the first round of the NCAA Championships before pinning Lee Hall (Pittsburgh) in the second round at 1:47. He then downed sixth-seeded Gerry Franzen (Navy), 3-0, in the quarterfinals before falling in a 6-0 decision to second-seeded and eventual champion Tom Peckham (Iowa State) in the semifinals. In the consolation rounds, Tribble bounced back with a pair of wins by fall as he stuck Chris Stowell (Michigan) in 1:01 of the consolation semifinal and then Roger Mickish (Oklahoma) in 1:40 of the medal match to take third overall. With his three pins in 4:28, Tribble was awarded the Gorrarian Award (most pins in least time).
Before his run at the national collegiate event, Tribble made history for the program as he stepped onto the international stage as an Olympian at the 1964 Tokyo Games. Competing in freestyle at 77kg (170 pounds), Tribble received a tough draw and was pinned in his first and only match at 4:11 by Ismail Ogan of Turkey. Ogan would later go on to win the gold medal.
Historically at ASU, Tribble holds a pair of records and contributed to a third as he was a member of the wrestling program's first conference team title as the Sun Devils won the 1965 WAC, the first of two in that league and 18 overall (16 in the Pac-10). On an individual basis, he is still the only Sun Devil to have earned the Gorrarian Award at the NCAA Championships while also holding the program record for winning percentage for wrestlers with 50 or less wins in a career as he went 32-2-2 (.917) in his lone year of competition.
A one-time coach at South Mountain High School in Phoenix, Tribble was enshrined in a pair of Halls with the most recent coming in 2007 as he was inducted into the Arizona Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member. In 1993, Tribble was selected for enshrinement in the Arizona State Hall of Fame as well.
Memorial services have not been finalized and will be announced at a later time.