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Rulon Gardner named Amateur Wrestling News Man of the Year during NWCA banquet at NCAA Championships



Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner (Afton, Wyo./Sunkist Kids) was named 2000 Amateur Wrestling News Man of the Year. Gardner was recognized at the National Wrestling Coaches Association banquet, which was held in Iowa City, Iowa, Wednesday, March 14. Accepting the award from Amateur Wrestling News publisher John Hoke on behalf of Gardner was long-time Greco-Roman national sponsor and supporter John Vaughan. Gardner won the gold medal at super heavyweight in Greco-Roman at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, shocking three-time Olympic champion and previously unbeaten Alexander Kareline of Russia in the gold-medal finals. Gardner has received most of the major awards in the sport of wrestling, and in the Olympic movement since his dramatic victory. He was named the USOC SportsMan of the Year, only the second wrestler so honored. He became the first wrestler to win an ESPY award, when he claimed the honor as the Male U.S. Olympic Athlete of the Year. He has also been named as a top 10 finalist for the James E. Sullivan Award, presented annually to the top amateur athlete in the United States. Many believe that Gardner provided the most memorable moment from the entire Sydney Games. He has received many major media interviews since the Games, including appearances with Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, Rosie O'Donnell as well as the "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" show. He has received numerous commercial opportunities, including a milk ad. The NWCA banquet, a traditional kickoff for the NCAA Championships, provided the organization an opportunity to formally present a number of key awards. The NWCA Meritorious Service Awards, among the most prestigious awards given by the organizations went to a pair of leaders within the sport of wrestling. Steve Erber, the athletic director at Muhlenburg College and former coach at SUNY-Binghamton, was presented with the award, as was Bob Bowlsby, the athletic director at the Univ. of Iowa, and a member of many important wrestling committees. Cael Sanderson of Iowa State received the 2000 Carl Grant Award, presented each year to the Outstanding Wrestler from the NCAA Championships. Sanderson, a junior, will be attempting to win his third straight NCAA title this weekend. Among the other NWCA awards presented on Wednesday night were: 2001 National Duals Championship award - J Robinson, Univ. of Minnesota 2001 National Duals Outstanding Wrestler - Cael Sanderson, Iowa State 2000 High School Wrestler of the Year - Jesse Jantzen, Shoreham Wading River HS, New York 2000 High School Coach of the Year - Jack Holloway, William Penn HS, Delaware 2000 High School Assistant Coach of the Year - Dennis Miller, Kearney HS, Nebraska 2000 College Coach of the Year - Bobby Douglas, Iowa State 2000 Assistant College Coach of the Year - Tom Brands, Univ. of Iowa The NWCA also presented its 25 Year Service Awards, as well as its regional winners for the High School Coach of the Year and Assistant Coach of the Year. To conclude the program, Dan Gable, Olympic champion, Olympic coach and a legend in Iowa, encouraged all people in wrestling to attend the 2001 World Championships at Madison Square Garden in New York City, September 26-29. Al Bevilacqua, representing the Metropolitan Wrestling Association, as well as USA Wrestling National Freestyle Resident Coach Mike Duroe also provided information on this exciting opportunity for wrestling to be showcased to the world. The sponsors of the NWCA banquet are Resilite Sports Products, Rubatex and the NCAA.
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