Eight new members were inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Hall of Fame at the banquet on April 28, 2007 at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Bruce Bartels, John Miller, Ray Miller, John Panning, Albert Russ, Pat Short, Harlan “Butch” Steen, and Jim Tanniehill were inducted. Many Hall of Fame members were in attendance.
Bruce Bartels – Coach
Presenter: Jim Bartels/Jason Bartels
Bruce Bartels graduated from Brownton High School in 1965, having served as a captain his senior year as well as being crowned 212 Conference Champion. He attended Willmar Community College from 1965-1967 and graduated from Mankato State in 1969.
He coached at Annandale (and later Annandale-Maple Lake) from 1969-2004, finishing with a record of 279-226-10. Bruce coached fourty-two individual state qualifiers and twenty state place winners, (including seven state champions) during his tenure. He was selected as the Section 5AA Coach of the Year in 2004, and was presented with the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. He was selected as Annandale’s 2004 Teacher of the Year.
Bruce answered the call of his country, having served in Vietnam from 1970-1972. He has been a longtime contributor to The Guillotine, and his articles have kept wrestling fans informed of current trends and issues in Minnesota for many years.He also served as Section Rep as well as serving on the MSHSL Advisory Committee.
Bruce’s wife is Joyce; he has five children: Sara, Jason, Missy, Cory, and Chris as well as six granddaughters.
John Miller – Athlete
Presenter: Darrel Refsland
John graduated from Renville-Sacred Heart High School in 1985. He is one of only a handful of Minnesota wrestlers to win four state titles, doing so in a two-class system. His high school record was 173-12-1. He was awarded the Mr. Minnesota Wrestler Award in 1985. He was a five-time 212 Conference champion and a four-time Region 3 champion.
He attended the University of Minnesota and earned a 29-11 record there. He then transferred to South Dakota State University and later attended Southwest State, where he graduated in 1990. A nagging injury kept John from competing as he had wanted to in college, but he was 7-3 at SDSU, was a Division II National qualifier, second in the NCC Conference, and runner-up at the UNO Open and the Bison Open. John was known for being incredibly strong and aggressive, as well as having excellent balance.
Not only is he an outstanding athlete, but he is an exceptional person off the mat as well. His wife’s name is Tara and they have two children, Sadie and Allie.
Ray Miller – Coach/Contributor
Presenter: Rob Miller
Ray graduated from Willow Lake High School in 1958. He attended Huron College, graduating from there in 1963. He obtained a master’s degree in Physical Education at SDSU in 1968.
Ray started the wrestling program at Roslyn High School in Roslyn, SD in 1963-64. He moved to Sacred Heart, MN in 1968 where he started the wrestling program and coached until his retirement in 1999. He has been selected as District, Region, and Conference Coach of the Year on numerous occasions. His coaching record was 243-259-8. Ray’s team didn’t dodge anyone. They wrestled Canby, Olivia, and the other great teams in the area year in and year out. Ray helped guide the wrestling program from RSH to BDRSH to RCW. The year after Ray retired the team went 21-3. He left current coach Scott Fransen a solid lineup.
Ray directed camps and clinics around the state of Minnesota for many years. He coached wrestlers to six state championships, four of them by his son John. He has coached numerous state placewinners, including his son Rob, who was a two-time third place winner.
Ray served as a Section Rep for many years. He is still very active in the RCW wrestling program as well as his local church. Ray’s wife is Barb, and they have three children, Rob, Leslie, and John.
John Panning – Athlete
Presenter: Gerry Gingles
John graduated from Canby High School, graduating from there in 1969. His record at Canby was 11-0-1 (ten falls). Illness kept him from competing in the regional tournament.
He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1974, having served as team captain in 1972 and 1973. He earned the U of M Most Outstanding Wrestler Award in 1972 and 1973. His record at the University of Minnesota (junior and senior year) was 38-6. He was a Big Ten champion in 1973 and an NCAA Division I runner-up in 1972. He was also awarded the Gorriaran Award at the NCAA national tournament in 1972, having the most falls in the least amount of time. John was known for being an excellent pinner.
His wife’s name is Pamela Jo, and they have two children, Rachael and Alyssa.
Albert Russ – Athlete
Presenter: Don Krusemark
Albert graduated from Blue Earth High School in 1957. He was a two-time Minnesota state champion in high school, earning a record of 74-6. He was a four-time South Central Conference champion from 1954-1957, as well as a AAU Cedar Falls, Iowa champion in 1956 and 1957. He placed first in the Mankato State High School tournament in 1956 and 1957. During the 1956-57 season he placed first at the Tri-State Invitational at North High in Omaha, Nebraska. (Blue Earth was the first Minnesota entry). He was runner-up at the Cedar Falls, Iowa Open tournament in 1963 at 191 lbs. He attended Mankato State University, graduating from there in 1965. His college record was 28-8. He was a two-time Northern Intercollegiate champion in 1964 and 1965. He taught at Dakota Meadows Middle School for five years. Albert’s wife is Vicki, and they have three children: Jess, Gina, and Sam as well as a grandson named Ryan.
Pat Short – Contributor
Presenter: Jim Short
Pat attended Mounds View High School, graduating in 1965. During her time at Mounds View she was a cheerleader for the wrestling team for three years, meeting her husband Jim and eventually marrying him. Pat continued to be involved with wrestling. She is the voice of Simley wrestling, announcing all home dual meets and tournaments since 1970.
Pat was one of the early pioneers of MN/USA Wrestling, and her dedication as a wrestling supporter helped keep things together. She helped guide MN/USA Wrestling when it was in its infancy stage. In the early 1970’s she became involved with pairing for Minnesota freestyle. In 1974 Pat became the Head Pairer of a Minnesota chapter of an organization called the United States Wrestling Federation. Later she became a Board member of USWF and two other organizations, AAU and Land O’ Lakes. She was one of the key people in the merging of all three organizations into what became MN/USA Wrestling. She continued with MN/USA Wrestling as Head Pairer and a member of the Board of Directors until 2003.
Pat has served in many other positions at the local and national levels. She has been the head pairer of the Minnesota Christmas Tournament since its inception in 1987. She is the head pairer for the Ninth Grade and Under State Tournament, as well as the head bout-master for the MSHSL State Tournament. Pat served as the head pairer for both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Pat has received several prestigious awards: USA Master Pairer of the year in 1999; USA Wrestling Woman of the Year in 2002; USA Wrestling Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. Pat owned her own dance studio from 1965-1991. Her students won many local and national dance competitions.
She and her husband Jim have four sons, all of whom are Minnesota state champions: John (1985), Chris (1986-87), William (1988-89), and Wade (1990-91). She has fifteen grandchildren. Pat continues to pair on the state and national level.
Harlan “Butch” Steen – Coach
Presenter: Terri Lahr/Tyler Steen
Butch graduated from Browns Valley High School in 1962. As team captain he was a District 21 runner-up his senior year, ending his year with a 15-4 record. He wrestled four years at South Dakota State University, graduating in 1967 with a degree in Wildlife Conservation. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Butch served in the military from March 1967 to April 1970. He served one year in Vietnam with the First Infantry Division in 1969-70.
Butch coached several different teams during his tewnty-five years of coaching. From 1972-1982 he coached at Raymond. From 1983-1990 he coached Clara City-Raymond. From 1990-1996 he coached MACCRAY (Maynard, Clara City, and Raymond). He achieved a coaching record of 231-186-3.
In 1984, Butch was selected as Region 3A Coach of the Year. He was chosen as District Coach of the Year in 1978, 1979, 1983, 1984, and 1985. He was Conference Coach of the Year in 1977, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1983, and 1985. Butch’s teams were known for being well-coached, very aggressive, good technicians, and having excellent hand control while on the bottom.
He coached thirty-four state entrants, sixteen state place winners, and fourteen regional champs. His teams were runners-up to powerhouse Canby three different times: 1979, 1983, and 1985.
He has been an advocate for wrestling for years, and he helped host freestyle wrestling back in the days of AAU, USWF, and Land ‘O Lakes. He also hosted and organized a dual with a national team from Finland against area wrestlers in 1979. Butch initiated the formation of the first Ninth Grade League in West Central Minnesota. Butch will long be remembered for his great sportsmanship and competitive spirit.
Butch’s wife’s name is Deena and he has five children: Janice, Terri, Jennifer, Trevor, and Tyler.
Jim Tanniehill – Athlete
Presenter: Alan Rice
Jim graduated from Alexander Ramsey High School in 1965. He attended Winona State University, graduating from there in 1970. He is the winningest wrestler in Winona State’s history, achieving a record of 117-14-3. He was a six time All-American (NAIA and NCAA), including a fifth (1967) and third place finish (1969) in the Division I Nationals. He was a four-time Midlands champion and a twelve-time seniors national champion in AAU Greco-Roman and freestyle.
He was a three-time Olympic Trials/World Team Trials runner-up. He was the only wrestler to ever win national titles at four different weights.
He was inducted into the Winona State University Hall of Fame in 1985 and the NAIA National Hall of Fame in 1990. He is known to many as Abdul Raheem-Ali. He continued to share his knowledge of wrestling with others, having run a wrestling academy for over twenty-five years. At almost sixty years old, Jim still wrestles today and recently competed in the World Veteran’s Master’s division.
Jim is married to Darlys and has four children.