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|Steve Silver named USA Wrestling Man of the Year|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Steve Silver of Forney, Texas, who is a leader within wrestling on the Senior and age-group levels, has been named Man of the Year by USA Wrestling, the national governing body for wrestling in the United States. This award recognizes an outstanding man for his contributions to the sport of wrestling.
"I am honored to get the award," said Silver. "I try to do whatever I can to contribute to wrestling. This means I must be contributing, in order to get recognized with this award."
Silver served as Team Leader of the 2006 U.S. World Freestyle Team, which competed in Guangzhou, China, and placed third in the team standings with four medalists. Silver does business in China, and used his expertise of the nation and provided support staff to assist the team during the entire time there.
He was also the Team Leader for the 2005 U.S. Freestyle World Team, which competed in Budapest, Hungary. He will also serve as Team Leader for the 2007 U.S. Freestyle World Team which will compete in Baku, Azerbaijan.
"I don't have anybody in family that competes at the Olympic level. I feel that these athletes need help. The athletes trying to make World and Olympic teams need all the support they can get. I like helping them, and I feel I can assist in many ways. I have gotten to know these guys, and have gotten close to many of them."
Silver has been involved in wrestling throughout his life, competing as an athlete and serving as a coach and leader for wrestling on the youth and high school levels. Silver wrestled for Spencerport High School in New York and at the Univ. of Alabama for three years under coach Pat Milkovich before starting his business career.
He is a wrestling parent, as six of his seven children have participated, including two of his daughters. Silver founded and coached a youth wrestling club in Forney, Texas. He hired 1988 Olympic champion and 1989 World champion Kenny Monday to coach the club, now called Team Monday. He has supported the wrestling team at Bishop Lynch High School, which has become a nationally recognized program. Bishop Lynch has placed as high as second at the National Prep School Championships. Silver and his father-in-law have given a joint gift of $100,000 to Bishop Lynch High School for its wrestling room.
"The reason I am passionate is that I have four boys who wrestled, two girls who wrestled and I wrestled. We are a wrestling family. Before this, I was involved in baseball. Many kids I worked with went into professional baseball. These guys really didn't need the help like the wrestlers did. I ran a wrestling club for two years for my boys, then I got Kenny Monday involved. The kids from Texas and others don't have a path to follow. Even if you have talent, there is not a clear path. Since then, we have had kids on the Dream Team and winning the Dave Schultz High School Excellence award. We think this is a great sport and a great opportunity. If you read about a kid from Texas winning in Fargo at Junior or Cadet Nationals or getting a college scholarship, it is not unbelievable anymore," said Silver.
Many of his children are still competing in athletics. Clay Silver wrestles on the team at UT-Arlington, and previously wrestled for the Univ. of Texas-Dallas, school with compete at the NCWA Championships.
Sons Luke Silver will be competing for Oklahoma State, and has won the Dave Schultz High School Excellence award. Son Johnny Koepp is a talented high school junior wrestler, and is being recruited by major college programs. Troy Silver is a high school freshman, and was a Prep School High School All-American this year. Daughter Jessie Silver competed in gymnastics at the Univ. of Alabama.
Silver has been a team leader on trips to Russia and Mongolia and China with USA Wrestling and Athletes in Action. These tours have provided top youth wrestlers a chance for cultural experiences and challenging international competition.
Professionally, Silver owns the Steve Silver Company, an import furniture business in Dallas, Texas. Over the last 20-plus years, the company has grown over $150 million in sales and has 500 employees worldwide in five nations.
Silver was recognized and received his award at ceremonies during the 2007 U.S. World Team Trials in Las Vegas last weekend.
PAST USA WRESTLING MAN OF THE YEAR WINNERS
2006 - Steve Silver
2005 - Al Bevilacqua
2004 - Jeff Levitetz
2003 - Set Agonian
2002 - Al Kastl
2001 - James Ravannack
2000 - Rulon Gardner
1999 - Duane Morgan
1998 - Scott Beck
1997 - Rick Tucci
1996 - Dave Schultz
1995 - Leroy Evans
1994 - James E. Scherr
1993 - Arthur J. Martori
1992 - Bruce Baumgartner
1990 - Eugene Barone
1989 - John Vaughan
1987 - Dave Rudrud
1986 - Jeff Blatnick
1985 - Dr. Dan Gould
1984 - Gary Thompson
1983 - Don Sondgeroth
1982 - Frank Rader
1981 - John Roberts
1980 - Rick Bay
1979 - Ben Bennett
1978 - Werner Holzer
1977 - Vince Zuaro
1976 - Ken Kraft
1974-75 - Russ Hellickson
1973 - Jack Stanbro
1972 - Melvin Jones
1971 - Bud Linholm
1970 - Rex Peery