West Virginia Wrestling

Henson to be Inducted into NWHOF

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (December 9, 2014) – West Virginia University head wrestling coach Sammie Henson has been selected for induction into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member of the class of 2015 as announced by the organization last week.

Henson will be joined by fellow distinguished members Frank Bettucci, Joe Gonzales and Greg Johnson as well as Outstanding American Mike Golic, Order of Merritt recipient Dr. David “Doc” Bennett, Medal of Courage recipient Mike Powell and Lifetime Achievement honoree official Kenny Ritchie.

“I owe some much of my success to so many people, but no one more than my wife, Stephanie Jo Henson, who sacrificed more than anyone can imagine as well as my children Jackson, Wyatt, Ruby and Georgia-Kate,” said Henson, who is in his first season at the helm of the Mountaineers. “Without my brother, Chuck, I would never have made it to the top of so many podiums.”

Distinguished Members have achieved extraordinary success in national and/or international competition as a wrestler or have shown great leadership and complied an outstanding record as a coach. Others include contributors who have substantially enhanced and advanced the sport or a combination of any of the previously listed qualifications.

On the mat, Henson was a two-time NCAA National Champion and three-time All-American as a collegiate wrestler. After winning a Big Eight title and All-American honors as a freshman at Missouri, Henson transferred to Clemson where he posted a 71-0 record in addition to winning the 1993 and 1994 national titles. He was the 1994 ACC Wrestler of the Year, 1994 Clemson Male Athlete of the Year and was later inducted into the Clemson Athletics Hall of Fame.

The St. Charles, Missouri, native won gold at the 1998 World Championships before earning the John Smith U.S.A. Wrestler of the Year award. Henson went on to win a silver medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, before taking bronze at the 2006 World Championships.

Following his stellar athletic career, Henson embarked on his coaching journey. He started his coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Oklahoma in 1997 and has coached at several perennial national contenders, including Penn State, Nebraska and Missouri. In his 17 years on the bench, he has produced an All-American in each season for a total of 20 in addition to five NCAA National Champions. He was named the eighth head coach of the Mountaineers in May of 2014 and continues to be the head coach Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club, which has produced more World Team and Olympic Team wrestlers than any other club in the country.

“This honor I will forever share with the people in my corner, without whom my dreams would not have been realized,” said Henson. “This includes my mom and dad, Art Matori, Kim Matori, Doc Hines, Lynn Siler, Roger Hodapp, Judd Hoffman, Joe Seay, Bruce Burnett and Gil Sanchez.”

The induction ceremony for the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 2015 will take place on June 5 and 6, 2015, in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

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