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|National Wrestling Hall of Fame announces 2006 winners of four major awards; Day, Sciacchetano, Meyer and Williams to receive special honors|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
The National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum has announced the winners of four of the major awards that it presents each year during its annual Honors Weekend. Each of these awards recognize special contributions to the sport in specific areas.
The 2006 award winners are:
- Outstanding American - Pat Day of Louisville, Ky.
- Order of Merit - Larry Sciacchetano of Baton Rouge, La.
- Medal of Courage - Randy Meyer of Sheboygan Falls, Wis.
- Outstanding Official - Sam Williams of Fall Creek, Pa.
These award winners will be recognized during the annual Honors Weekend Banquet and Induction Ceremony June 3, 2006 in Stillwater, Okla. They will be honored along with the four new Distinguished Members of the Hall of Fame that will be inducted this year: Terry Brands, Josh Henson, Tricia Saunders and Pat Smith.
Kentucky Derby winning jockey Pat Day has been named to the Hall of Outstanding Americans, which demonstrates wrestling's pride in those who have used the disciplines of the sport to launch notable careers in other walks of life, such as science and technology, business and industry, government and the military, the arts and humanities, among others.
Day, is one of the greatest professional jockeys in history. In 2005, after a 32-year riding career, he retired after he won 8,804 races, fourth on the all-time list. He earned an estimated $297,941,912 through racing, and passed the retired Chris McCarron as the all-time earnings leader in 2002. He won the 1992 Kentucky Derby aboard Lil E. Tee and was a runner-up at the Kentucky Derby four times. As a wrestler at Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum, Colo., Day posted a career record of 77-7, winning a state title and two state runner-up finishes.
Former USA Wrestling president Larry Sciacchetano has received the Order of Merit, which is presented to an individual who has made significant contribution to the advancement of wrestling, other than success as an athlete or coach. The winner is selected by a vote of the Distinguished Members of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Sciacchetano is currently the United States' representative on the FILA Bureau, which manages international wrestling. He is currently the President of the FILA Hall of Fame Commission, and was a driving force for the development of a Hall of Fame for international wrestling. Sciacchetano served two terms as president of USA Wrestling, from 1994-98. Under his leadership, USA Wrestling had success in international wrestling and experienced growth in its membership. Sciacchetano was a respected coach on the college and international levels. Sciacchetano coached nine years at Louisiana State (1975-85), leading the Tigers to seven Southeast Conference titles. He served as assistant coach of the 1993 U.S. World Team, which won the first World Team Title for the United States.
Meyer, who was blinded at the age of two by retinal cancer, is currently the mayor of Sheboygan Falls, Wis. and has achieved remarkable success in many endeavors. He receives the Medal of Courage, which is presented annually to a wrestler or former wrestler who has overcome what appear to be insurmountable challenges, which may be physical, mental or other handicaps that make his or her achievements all the more uplifting.
In spite of this blindness, Meyer overcame great challenges in his academic development. He wrestled at Sheboygan Falls High School, where he qualified for the state championships three times, placing fifth in the state during his senior year. He then wrestled at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Whitewater, earning Div. III All-American honors, placing eighth at the national tournament in 1989. Meyer owns RM Financial Resources, a successful financial planning business. He served as an Alderman on the Sheboygan Falls City Council for five years, prior to his election as mayor. In 2005, the U.S. Junior Chamber named him one of the year's Ten Outstanding Young Americans.
Williams. a top official in international, high school and college wrestling for almost 40 years, was selected for the Lifetime Achievement for Officials award, which recognizes outstanding service as a wrestling or pairing official or judge. Inductees are honored in the Vince Zuaro Officials Room at the Museum.
Williams was one of the founders of the U.S. Wrestling Officials Association (USWOA), the national organization for international wrestling officials. He was considered one of the top referees in the East, and worked matches at many levels, both in the international style and the U.S. collegiate styles. Williams worked major collegiate competitions, including the NCAA Div. II and NCAA Div. III National Championships. In Olympic-style wrestling, Williams officiated international dual meets and exchanges and served as head of officials for three states (Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut).
Complete biographies of the inductees will be posted each day this week on TheMat.com (www.themat.com), with Day on Tuesday, Sciacchetano on Wednesday, Meyers on Thursday and Williams on Friday.