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Lehigh Athletics mourns passing of Greg Strobel

Greg Strobel (Lehigh Athletics)

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Lehigh Athletics has lost a legend. On Thursday, the family of former head wrestling coach and administrator Greg Strobel shared the news that he had passed away. A member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Strobel served as Lehigh's head coach from 1995 through 2008, which included five straight EIWA Championships from 2002 through 2006. Strobel was 68 years old.


"The news of Greg's passing is shocking and difficult to process, mostly because Greg was so full of life and optimism and energy, perhaps more so than anyone I have ever known," said Murray H. Goodman Dean of Athletics Joe Sterrett. "His resilience and strength through a successful battle with cancer a few years ago, and then the loss of his wife Donna less than a year ago, were profound examples to everyone who knew him of the power of faith and a positive attitude."

Current Lehigh head wrestling coach Pat Santoro served as an assistant under Strobel for eight seasons, and after a stint as Maryland head coach, was named his successor following Strobel's retirement in 2008.

"I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around Greg's passing," said Santoro. "He was a man so full of life and has been a part of mine for many years. He was a great mentor coach, and friend."

As Lehigh head coach, Strobel posted a 189-83-1 dual record, winning six total EIWA titles. Under his watch, Strobel's wrestlers captured 28 individual EIWA championships and 30 All-America honors. He coached two NCAA champions: Rob Rohn in 2002 and Troy Letters in 2004. He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2012.

"Greg lived an amazing life and accomplished so much," said Santoro. "He made such a positive impact on the sport of wrestling and an even greater impact on his wrestlers. He loved to teach, whether it was wrestling, fishing or woodworking, and was good at it. He always taught great habits to and shared wisdom with his teams… things they will remember and use the rest of their lives. His energy and positive attitude were unrivaled by anyone I know."

As an athlete, Strobel won two NCAA titles and was a three-time All-American at Oregon State, finishing his career with a 124-5-1 record. After retiring from coaching in 2008, Strobel transitioned into an administrative leadership position as Assistant Athletic Director in which he served multiple roles. He led Lehigh Athletics' camps and clinics efforts until he retired following the 2018-19 academic year.

"Greg had attacked his retirement from full-time work with the same characteristics and he was truly excited about spending his time in the ways he would most enjoy - with grandchildren, around the sport of wrestling that he loved, and in a boat, fishing," said Sterrett. "All of us at Lehigh extend our thoughts, prayers, love and appreciation to his daughters and their families for sharing with us their father and grandfather. His legacy as an extraordinarily distinguished coach, educator and mentor is secure in the hearts of so many associated with Lehigh, many of whom are today sadly mourning the unexpected passing of a friend."

"Today, my thoughts and prayers are with his daughters Jen and Christine and the rest of their family who he loved and cherished," said Santoro. "Although I will miss him very much, I feel peace in knowing that he and his Donna are together again."

Details about services are still being arranged, though Lehigh Athletics will host a memorial event to honor Greg's life and service at Lehigh. Once further details, including a date, are confirmed, they will be communicated on Lehighsports.com and/or the Lehigh Athletics/Lehigh Wrestling social media channels.

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