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Hall of Fame coach Tommy Chesbro, 66, passed away on Friday



Oklahoma State Stunned by Loss of Tommy Chesbro

STILLWATER, Okla. (OSU Athletics ) ‹ Oklahoma State is mourning the loss of longtime staff member Tommy Chesbro, who passed away last night from a sudden heart attack at the age of 66.

Chesbro has spent 40 years in OSU athletics as an athlete, coach and administrator. He was working yesterday afternoon making final preparations for OSUšs game today against Missouri State.

"When I heard the news on Friday evening, all I could think about was I lost my coach," current OSU head wrestling coach John Smith said. "My relationship with coach Chesbro was one you would have with your mother and father.

"He was one of the most positive mentors I ever had as an athlete and coach. He had a great passion for Oklahoma State and its wrestling program."

Chesbro was recently inducted into Oklahoma Statešs Heritage Hall as an outstanding coach. He is one of nine coaches to win an NCAA title at OSU, which he captured in 1971. He spent 15 years as a wrestling coach for his alma mater where he amassed a career record of 227-26, a .900 winning percentage.

Before beginning his coaching career at Oklahoma State, Chesbro was a high school coach for eight years at Blackwell and Stillwater, winning a state title and finishing as runner-up twice.

Chesbro was inducted as a distinguished member into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1995.

Chesbro married the former Shirley Wright and the couple had three sons: Tommy, Doug and Todd. Doug serves as the Stillwater High School wrestling coach and Todd was a three-time All-American at OSU.

Services will be held at Sunnybrook Christian Church on Wednesday at 2 p.m. The family said that flowers can be sent to Strode Funeral Home in Stillwater.

TOMMY CHESBRO'S HALL OF FAME BIOGRAPHY

When he returned to Oklahoma State University as only its fourth head wrestling coach, Tommy Chesbro followed a trail blazed by not one, but three Hall of Famers.

But in 15 years with the Cowboy reins, Chesbro eclipsed the victory totals of all three of his illustrious predecessors.

From 1970 through 1984, his teams won 227 dual meets against only 26 defeats, a 90 per cent winning record. He closed his coaching career with a 43-match winning streak, including 22 victories in 1983. During that season, the Cowboys shut out 10 opponents, one of the foes posting the rare score of minus 1, thanks to a penalty against its coach.

Chesbro's Cowboys won the NCAA team championship in 1971 and placed among the top four teams a dozen more times. He coached 20 individual NCAA champions and 20 National AAU and USA Wrestling titlists, headed by World and Olympic champions John Smith and Kenny Monday and three-time NCAA heavyweight king Jimmy Jackson.

In 1992, while serving as the university's director of athletic facilities, Chesbro scored a memorable "post-career" coaching victory. Interim coaches Smith and Monday were away, training for the Olympic Games, so Chesbro led the Cowboys into a match against arch rival Oklahoma. Their 43-0 victory was largest margin in the 72-year history of wrestling's storied Bedlam Series.

Chesbro was a state high school champion wrestler and a starter on Oklahoma State's 1959 NCAA championship team. In eight years as a high school coach, he had a record of 51-23-8, bringing his victory total to 278. His teams won one state title and twice were runners-up.

For his success in carrying on the rich tradition of a great collegiate wrestling program, Tommy Edward Chesbro is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.




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