MARSHALL, Minn. – Former Southwest Minnesota State University wrestler Jerry Reker and current SMSU assistant wrestling coach Joel Skillings will be inducted into the Minnesota Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame on April 23 in Austin, Minn. Reker and Skillings will both be receiving the Lifetime Service Award.
Reker was a four-year letter winner in both football and wrestling at SMSU, earning All-America honors in wrestling in 1975. He was a two-time team Most Valuable Wrestler in both 1974 and 1975. He was inducted into the SMSU Athletics Hall of Honor in 1992.
Reker has been a coach or an official in the sport of wrestling for nearly 45 years and has been very active mentoring young officials and serving in the capacity of head clinician for the Southern Minnesota Wrestling Officials Association. From 1976 to 2000, Reker served as a state and national collegiate official and was selected to officiate at the Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament for 25 years. He was consistently rated as one of the top officials in the state and was recognized in 2005 and 2007 as the Section 1AA and 1A Official of the Year. He worked many NCAA and NJCAA National Tournaments and Qualifiers.
Reker, the principal at Kasson-Mantorville High School for 17 years before retiring in February of 2021, has earned numerous awards in his career, including the MSHSL Distinguished Service Award, membership of the MCC Region 1 Wrestling Hall of Fame, and the MWCA Bartelma Hall of Fame.
Skillings has been a member of the SMSU coaching staff for three seasons. Skillings came to SMSU after a successful head coaching career at Minneota High School from 1988 to 2019 where his teams finished with a dual record of 559-197-4. He led the Vikings to the 2015 Class A state championship while earning third-place finishes in 2010, 2011, and 2012. The squad placed fourth in both 1996 and 2016. He was named the 2015 Minnesota State Wrestling Coach of the Year and was the Class A Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2015.
Skillings, who was also head football coach at Minneota from 1994 to 2002, was inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2021.
The 2022 induction will take place at the Austin Holiday Inn Conference center with a social beginning at 12 p.m., dinner at 1:30 p.m., and inductions beginning at 3 p.m. Tickets for the event may be purchased online at the Minnesota Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame website at mn-nwhof.ticketleap.com.
State chapter inductees are permanently honored at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Museum in Stillwater, Okla.