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Willie Gadson, 59, passed away Sunday; Funeral set for Monday, March 18 in Waterloo, Iowa



Willie Gadson, 59, Iowa State All-American, wrestling coach at Waterloo East High and an active leader in wrestling nationally, passed away Sunday in Waterloo, Iowa after a long battle with lung and bone cancer.

Gadson had received considerable support from the wrestling community in Iowa and from around the nation as he battled his illness. There were numerous fundraisers and benefits held to assist the Gadson family as he faced this challenge. Gadson was well-liked and respected around the nation, and made considerable impact on the sport at many levels.

USA Wrestling has received word that funeral services for Willie Lee Gadson are set for 11 am Monday, March 18, 2013 at East High School, 214 High Street, Waterloo, IA 50703. The services are being handled by Hagarty Waychoff Grarup Funeral Service, 300 West Ridgeway Waterloo, IA 50701

Gadson attended Huntington High School in Long Island, N.Y., and was a two-time NJCAA All-American at Nassau Community College in Nassau, N.Y., before he transferred to Iowa State, where he earned Division I All-America honors for the Cyclones, placing third in 1975 and sixth in 1976. Gadson, along with his brother Charlie, also had a successful freestyle career.

After his competitive career, he turned to coaching and was the head coach at Eastern Michigan from 1992-97, leading the Eagles to their first Mid-American Conference championship in 1996.

At East High School in Waterloo, Gadson coached 16 state qualifiers and 10 state placewinners, including his son Kyven to a pair of state championships. Perhaps his top team at East came in 2008 when the Trojans finished 10th in Class 3A with four state placewinners — Kirk Sallis Jr., Keelan Moore, Tray Pendleton and Kyven Gadson. He also coached as an assistant at Iowa City West High School among other coaching stints.

Willie’s son Kyven, who now competes for Iowa State, won a Big 12 title at 197 pounds on Saturday in Stillwater, Okla. Kyven was able to spend some time with his father Willie before he passed away on Sunday.

There have been numerous stories about Willie Gadson in the media in his community.

Des Moines Register: Gadson will be 'missed big-time' by wrestling community

Ames Tribune: Gadson glad he got one last visit with his dad

Waterloo Courier: East coach Gadson loses battle with cancer

Des Moines Register: Kyven Gadson’s father loses yearlong cancer battle

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