Matt Hamill, a three-time NCAA Division III wrestling champ who became a star in mixed martial arts, is among the special honorees to be welcomed into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 2013, the Stillwater, Okla.-based facility announced Monday.
Hamill, who wrestled for the Rochester Institute of Technology despite being born deaf, will be presented with the Hall’s Medal of Courage, given to a wrestler who has overcome insurmountable challenges. Hamill, who was introduced to the sport by his stepfather who was a high school wrestling coach in Loveland, Ohio, competed for one year at Purdue University before transferring to R.I.T., where he won national titles in 1997-1999, each year in a different weight classes. Hamill then went on to find success in MMA and UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships) until his retirement last year. He was the subject of a 2011 movie, The Hammer.
The Hall also announced these individuals will be presented with special honors in 2013:
- Pat Fitzgerald will receive the Lifetime Achievement for Officials award for serving as an official at 21 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, including 13 NCAA finals matches.
- John Dustin will be presented with the Order of Merit for his contributions to the advancement of wrestling. An NCAA All-American at Oregon State in 1957, Dustin went on to serve as a coach and administrator for the past 50 years.
In addition, the Hall will honor two recipients with its Outstanding American honors:
- John Bardis, who wrestled at the University of Wisconsin and University of Arizona, was team leader of the U.S. Greco-Roman squad at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the 2007 World championships. He is the founder of MedAssets MDAS, the nation’s largest cost and supply chain management company for hospitals in the U.S. healthcare industry.
- Joshua Harris, a University of Pennsylvania wrestler in the early 1980s, is a managing partner in Apollo Management, and is part owner of the Philadelphia 76ers professional basketball team.
These individuals – along with Class of 2012 Distinguished Members Dan Chandler, Melvin Douglas, Matt Ghaffari, and Ron Gray — will be honored at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame May 31-June 1, 2013.
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