Holiday gift ideas for wrestlers and wrestling fans

While many indicators point to America as having entered a post-literate era, there remain great numbers of readers hungry to devour books. Wrestlers, coaches and fans who are both passionate about their favorite sport -- and reading -- will find a number of titles that will appeal to both passions. Here are some new books incorporating wrestling that have been published in the past few months, or are expected to be available soon, and are now available for ordering.


In "Foxcatcher: The True Story of My Brother's Murder, John du Pont's Madness, and the Quest for Olympic Gold," 1984 Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler Mark Schultz's memoir, reveals the real story behind why he and his brother Dave Schultz came to the Foxcatcher Farms wrestling training facility owned by multimillionaire John du Pont, heir to the du Pont chemical fortune. It served as the basis for the much-anticipated movie of the same name, starring Channing Tatum as Mark Schultz, Mark Ruffalo as Dave, and Steve Carell as du Pont. Now available for purchase at

Faith and Wrestling

There are many signs of a powerful linkage between Christian faith and the sport of wrestling. There's the Bible story of Jacob wrestling with the angel of the Lord; today, a number of wrestlers openly profess their faith. The latest example: former wrestler Michael Fessler with his "Faith and Wrestling: How the Role of a Wrestler Mirrors the Christian Life." This 103-page book, whose author who wrestled at nationally-ranked Apple Valley High School in Minnesota, then at Cal State Bakersfield, then earned a bachelor's degree in Biblical and Theological Studies from Bethel University. Fessler's bio in "Faith and Wrestling" states: "Every Christian is a 'wrestler'; and wrestling itself contains a unique perspective in regard to the Christian faith." The book is at once thoughtful and thought-provoking. Available in both traditional printed book format as well as an e-book at major online book retailers such as Amazon, as well directly from the publisher at

History of Collegiate Wrestling, Second Edition

First published in 2005, "The History of Collegiate Wrestling" was late wrestling historian Jay Hammond's definitive book covering a century of wrestling in college. Now available in a new second edition e-book which incorporates the text and photos of the original 380-page hardback, including a season-by-season analysis, along with feature articles including profiles of significant wrestlers, coaches and programs, analysis of rules changes, and other elements to add to a reader's understanding of college wrestling through the years. This second edition has been updated to provide coverage through the 2014 college season, along with the addition of new feature articles from a number of individual contributors, including this writer. Available only in an e-book format which may be purchased online at Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble, with proceeds from the book intended to help the non-profit National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum.

The IOC/Wrestling Battle

Saving Wrestling

What's the story behind the International Olympic Committee's decision to eliminate wrestling from the Olympics in February 2013 ... only to reinstate the sport seven months later? Award-winning wrestling writers Jamie Moffatt and Craig Sesker shared what they uncovered in their book, "Saving Wrestling: The Inside Story of the Sport's Epic Fight to Stay in the Olympics." More than a chronology, "Saving Wrestling" serves up a behind-the-scenes, behind-closed-doors point of view on the initial IOC decision, its reversal, and everything in between. Available as an e-book for Kindle readers from Amazon, or as an iBook for iPad or iPhone, or as softcover print book. Contact Jamie Moffatt via email at to order.

Full Circle

When the IOC made its decision to axe wrestling as a core Olympic sport last year, InterMat columnist -- and former NCAA All-American wrestler -- T.R. Foley sprang into action to tell the story in words and pictures, publishing "Full Circle: The 209 Days That United the World and Saved an Olympic Sport." Foley puts together a narrative timeline that is about as close to a day-by-day examination of what was going on in the world of wrestling while the status of Olympic wrestling hung in the balance, accompanied by incredible color photos, selected by photo editor Tony Rotundo, which transport the reader around the globe. Available for purchase online via


Carl Adams

Carl Adams' fame goes beyond his success on the mat (as a two-time NCAA champ at Iowa State and twice a national freestyle titlewinner), or as a collegiate coach whose career spanned four decades. He is also known and respected as an inventor, entrepreneur, author and instructor. In his new book "Think It, Believe It. Do It", Adams shares his inspiring stories of how he overcame the odds to achieve greatness, offering ideas and guidance that readers will find inspirational and practicable. The book is now available for purchase online.

Dan Gable

As a high school student, Scott Schulte first met Dan Gable at a wrestling clinic in Connecticut decades ago, serving as a "dummy" for the iconic wrestler and coach to demonstrate a move. The writer reconnected with Gable in 2012, with the idea of writing a new kind of biography on the Iowa State wrestler and University of Iowa coach who won the gold medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The two spent considerable time together, with Schulte gathering stories which are shared in his new book, "A Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable." Published by University of Iowa Press, the book is now available for pre-order, with a delivery date in early March 2015. For more information and to place an order, visit the publisher's website.

Cliff Keen

Mention the name Cliff Keen, and you probably think of the company that sells wrestling gear. However, the man Cliff Keen is much more than an entrepreneur who launched that business. Keen was head coach of the University of Michigan wrestling program for 45 years, the longest tenure of any head coach at the Ann Arbor school ... but there's so much more to the Cliff Keen story, as told in the book "Legends of Michigan: Cliff Keen" by Dave Taylor. In addition to heading up the Wolverine mat program for nearly a half-century, Keen also was a long-time assistant to the school's football program. One need not be a fan of all things Maize and Blue to appreciate this hefty volume that's rich with detail, and contains a treasure-trove of photographs. To order "Legends of Michigan: Cliff Keen" online, visit and type the word "book" into the search box.

Port Robertson

Porter Robertson was an iconic figure within the University of Oklahoma Athletic Department. Of prime interest here was his accomplishments as a Sooner wrestler in the 1930s, and his tenure as head wrestling coach from 1947-1959, leading the Sooners to three NCAA team titles. Among the wrestlers he coached: Tommy Evans, Stan Abel, and Dan Hodge. Robertson also coached the US Olympic freestyle wrestling team that brought home three gold medals from the 1960 Rome Olympics. Beyond wrestling, Robertson also served as the Sooner's head freshman football coach, and as academic counselor to all the university's male athletes for a couple of generations. Edgar Frost's "Port Robertson: Behind the Scenes of Sooner Sports" is not a typical biography, but more a sharing of stories from the Oklahoma athletes who remember him -- and loved him -- for his tough-love ability to shape young athletes into men of character. This hardbound book is available for purchase on

Joe Choynski

Joe Choynski (Ko-IN-skee) was one of the great professional boxers of the previous turn of the century, taking on nearly all the top heavyweights of the late 1800s and early 1900s, including "Gentleman" Jim Corbett, Jim Jeffries, and Jack Johnson ... despite weighing about 170 pounds. Chris LaForce tells the story of this light-heavyweight great in his epic "The Choynski Chronicles: A Biography of Hall of Fame Boxer Jewish Joe Choynski." Why is this amateur wrestling writer recommending a book about a boxer who's been dead more than 70 years? This 700-page book is must reading for any fan of combat sports because it is painstakingly researched and compellingly well-written, and, in fact, should serve as a model for how to write a biography of an athlete in any sport, including wrestling. Available for purchase on Amazon.

In addition to the books listed above, you'll find other great gift ideas in past InterMat Holiday Gift Guide articles from 2009 ... and 2011. (Note: There's no guarantee that all the items listed would still be available for purchase.)


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silver-medal (1) about 7 years ago
+1 to Mark Palmer.
162430 (1) about 7 years ago
I love the list, but would also like to add "A Season on the Mat: Dan Gable and the Pursuit of Perfection", by: Nolan Zavoral. This book chronicles the Hawkeye's 1996-1997 season and is my favorite wrestling read, by far.