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It's official: Oklahoma State's John Smith now in Oklahoma Hall of Fame 2020 Class

John Smith (left) coaching at the 2019 NCAAs (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

Earlier this week, Seth Duckworth of the "Pistols Firing" blog which covers Oklahoma State sports, reported on a "teaser tweet: suggesting that the Oklahoma Hall of Fame would be officially announcing that legendary Oklahoma State wrestler and head coach John Smith would be a member of that Hall of Fame's Class of 2020 to be announced this week… becoming the first-ever wrestler to be welcomed into that Hall in its 93-year history.

Thursday afternoon, the Hall made that announcement official -- while making history -- by revealing that John Smith is one of eight Oklahomans to be announced for induction into the Oklahoma City-based facility. The award ceremony will take place Thursday, November 12, 2020 at the at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Norman Hotel and Conference Center in Norman, Okla.

John Smith, Del City, Okla. native who The Oklahoman -- who the daily newspaper of Oklahoma City -- described as "one of the most accomplished Olympic wrestlers in U.S. history who turned into one of the winningest college coaches in the sport headlines the 93rd class of inductees into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame."

Smith, a native of Del City just outside Oklahoma City, was most appreciative -- and rather philosophical -- about this latest honor.

"It feels strange being the first person inducted in the sport of wrestling. I think there are a lot of people who paved that way, and hopefully, one day we might see them as well. I'm humbled to be the first. I'm not sure that I should be, but I'm definitely humbled."

The four-time World champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist has spent the entirety of his life in Oklahoma and more years than not at Oklahoma State.

"I think being raised in Oklahoma, my family being raised in Oklahoma, it has always been something in the back of my mind," Smith said. "These things that you get at home have always been most valuable to me. This is home, and I think this is probably one of the greatest honors you could receive as a resident in the state of Oklahoma. For that reason, I always hoped it was something I could be a part of. I've been fortunate enough to get to spend my career in one place, in Oklahoma. A lot of people don't get to do that, especially in the career I'm in."

"It feels strange being the first person inducted in the sport of wrestling. I think there are a lot of people who paved that way, and hopefully, one day we might see them as well. I'm humbled to be the first. I'm not sure that I should be, but I'm definitely humbled."

In addition to being named to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame this week, John Smith is also already a member of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, located in Stillwater, hometown for Oklahoma State University. www.nwhof.org

In a speech announcing the Class of 2020, Shannon L. Rich, president and CEO of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and Gaylord-Pickens Museum, said, "We proudly continue our mission in honoring Oklahoma's best and brightest with our state's highest honor. Since the first induction ceremony in 1928, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame has celebrated the inspiring stories of our native sons and daughters who committed their lives to overcome challenges for the betterment of Oklahoma, our nation and the world. The outstanding class of 2020 is no exception and we look forward to sharing their unique stories that bring an overwhelming sense of pride to communities throughout our great state."

One year ago, there was some hubbub when many in the amateur wrestling community realized that there were no honorees from the sport installed in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Here's an InterMat article, listing some worthy wrestling candidates for future consideration.

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