Augsburg coaching legend John Grygelko passes away

MINNEAPOLIS — John Grygelko, who played a key role in establishing the Augsburg University men’s wrestling team as a small-college national power, died on Friday, December 18, 2020. He was 93 years old.

Grygelko coached the Auggies during a key period of the program’s growth, from 1972 to 1980. His teams never finished lower than second in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference competition, winning six straight league titles from 1975 to 1980. Grygelko coached 32 MIAC individual champions, including three conference tournament most valuable wrestlers. He produced a 98-12-1 dual-meet record in his Augsburg career, including two unbeaten seasons (11-0 in 1976-77, 12-0 in 1978-79).

Under Grygelko, the Auggies finished in the top 10 in NAIA national competition four times, including a second-place finish in 1975 and a third-place finish in 1979. He coached 18 NAIA All-Americans during his Augsburg years, including national champions Scott Whirley ’82 (126 pounds) and Jeff Swenson ’79 (167 pounds) in 1979. Grygelko was named NAIA National Coach of the Year in 1975.

“We hold John and his family in our hearts as we mourn his loss. ‘G’ was much more than a coach to so many of us. ‘G’ was a father figure who guided the lives of hundreds of young men, and for many of us, helped mold us into the men we are today. He was instrumental in bringing Augsburg’s wrestling program to national prominence,” said Swenson, who succeeded Grygelko as Augsburg’s head coach in 1980 and led the Auggies to 10 NCAA Division III national championships in his 25 seasons (1980-84, 1986-2007). Swenson currently serves as Augsburg’s athletic director. Continue reading at athletics.augsburg.edu →

Would you like to receive the latest Minnesota wrestling news in your inbox?