The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Minnesota Chapter proudly announces the induction of ten new members for the Class of 2023. Inductees are Steve Carlson, Loren Hacker, Mark Krier, Larry Mollins, Cindy Nelson, Al Olson, Bill Olson, Steve Ricard, Richard Saxlund, and Joel Viss.
The Banquet will be held on Saturday, April 22, 2023, at the Austin Country Club. The schedule includes a social hour at Noon, dinner at 1:00 pm, and program & inductions from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. A Silent Auction will be from Noon to 6:00 pm.
State chapter inductees are permanently honored at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Museum in Stillwater, Oklahoma. View all National Wrestling Hall of Fame – Minnesota Chapter inductees online at nwhof.org/state-chapters/minnesota.
Steve Carlson – Outstanding American
Steve Carlson has been selected as the NWHOF-MN Chapter’s Outstanding American from Minnesota. Steve was a two-time state high school champion for legendary Hall of Fame coach and official Don Meyers at Fridley High School. Steve was a USWF Champion and Outstanding Wrestler Award as a true freshman at the US National Open Tournament. Steve was a captain at the University of Minnesota as well. He was an outstanding financial planner for the CPA firm Carlson, Poston, and Associates for 33 years. They participated in fundraising activities, raising over $3 million to support the Minnesota Wrestling Club, which later changed its name to the Gopher Wrestling Club. Steve also started Keystone Wealth Advisors, Inc., in 1999, which manages $250 million for individual families and company retirement plans. Steve was inducted into the MWCA Hall of Fame in 2022.
Loren Hacker – Lifetime Service
Loren Hacker coached for 32 years at McIntosh HS, SD, Canby, MN, and Dawson-Boyd HS. The NCAA Division III All-American had his team win a region title at Canby and place 6th in the 1982 State Tournament. A long-time volunteer for the MSHSL Tournament, he has been inducted into the Bartelma MWCA Hall of Fame and was a long-time superintendent! Loren was a standout heavyweight for Canby and UM-Morris under Hall of Fame coaches Gerry Gingles and Doug Dufty.
Mark Krier – Lifetime Service
Mark Krier was a three-time state high school champion for Plainview-Elgin-Millville and was inducted into the Dave Bartelma MWCA Hall of Fame. His record at Plainview was 132-3 in three years and 145-9 overall. With thirty-three years of coaching, Mark has been selected as Minnesota State Assistant Wrestling Coach Of the Year twice. His teams at Owatonna and Zumbrota-Mazeppa have both claimed state championships. Mark was selected Section I Assistant Wrestling Coach of the Year twice. He is a member of the Plainview Hall of Fame, MWCA Bartelma Hall of Fame, and MCC Region 1 Hall of Fame.
Larry Mollins – Lifetime Service
Larry Mollins gave back 48 years to the sport of wrestling and had a great 11 years of coaching at Perham High School. His teams were 115–37-1. They won 22 tournament team championships, and his 1979 team won the individual state tournament for class A (the old tournament format). The NDSU standout coached six individual state champions and five collegiate All-Americans. For the past 37 years, Larry has been the voice announcing wrestling coverage in Northwest Minnesota. He received MWCA announcing awards twice for state tournament coverage.
Cindy Nelson – Lifetime Service
Cindy Nelson of Mantorville, MN (Kasson-Mantorville) is starting her 33rd year as a volunteer State High School table worker/scorekeeper and for USA/Freestyle/Folkstyle, etc. Cindy has served on 19 different wrestling committees. Some of these include the Swalla All-Tournament Chair, the NYWA Committee, fundraiser for The Clash National High School Duals, The Clash All-Tournament Scholar Team Chair, Secretary of The Clash Board, The Clash Team Coordinator/Liaison, and The Clash Girls Tournament Director! Cindy becomes the third female inducted into the NWHOF-MN Chapter (with Dee Gause and Mary Davis).
Al Olson – Lifetime Service
Al “Swede” Olson of Lengby, with the Fosston-Bagley program, never left the wrestling room after he graduated. Al has coached for 47 years and also officiated for 45 years during the same time. His teams have won 345 duals, and he coached 74 state entrants, multiple place winners, state runners-up, and 25 100+ Club winners. Al was selected 8AA Assistant Coach of the Year three times, is in the MWCA Hall of Fame, and he officiated Class A state placement matches this past year.
Bill Olson – Lifetime Service
Bill Olson has been one of the top officials in the state of Minnesota for the past 35 years. He hails from Byron, Minnesota, and wrestled for the great one-class program at LeRoy-Ostrander, which had Steve Rice, his brother, and the Cummings twins. Bill wrestled for WSU and Waldorf. Bill had worked multiple state tournaments. Bill has been the head official for The Clash National Duals in Rochester, MN. He was inducted into the Region 1 Mayo Civic Hall of Fame and the MWCA Hall of Fame. Bill received the MSHSL Distinguished Service Award in 2011 and is a long-time evaluator of officials.
Steve Ricard – Lifetime Service
Steve Ricard of Benson has given back to the sport of wrestling for 31 years as a coach and official at all levels. An outstanding wrestler at Fertile-Beltrami High School and MSUM, Steve was a four-time NAIA National Qualifier and two-time Academic All-American for the Dragons. Steve has worked with the youth program at Benson for years. He has directed the MWCA Dave Bartelma Hall of Fame as Chair for nearly 20 years and is a Section Rep. Steve has volunteered more time to the sport of wrestling than anybody, according to NWHOF-MN Chair Spencer Yohe.
Richard Saxlund – Lifetime Service
Richard “Dick” Saxlund has given back 42 years to the sport of wrestling. A Lisbon, ND, native, Richard graduated from Mayville State University (North Dakota), where he was a standout wrestler and football player for four years in both sports. He is a member of the 1961 Mayville State University Athletic Hall of Fame Football Team and is in the 2021 Mayville State University Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame. Richard started his wrestling coaching career at LeRoy-Ostrander, where he led the program for two years, including coaching a state champion and runner-up. He was inducted into the Bulldog Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2021. Next, he coached in Pipestone for over 35 years, where he coached five state champions, five runner-ups, and numerous other placewinners. A number of his wrestlers went on to be NCAA All-Americans, including Perry Kozlowski, Dustin Darveaux, Scott Dubblelde, and son Steve Saxlund, who won three NCAA Division II titles and one runner-up finish. Richard is also a member of the Pipestone-Jasper Athletic Hall of Fame, the Pipestone High School Wrestling Hall of Fame, and the MWCA Dave Bartelma Hall of Fame, in which he was inducted with his son, Steve. Richard was a coach who expected you to do your best at all times and is a die-hard wrestling contributor who devoted a lifetime of service to wrestling.
Joel Viss – Lifetime Service
Joel Viss wrestled for Spencer Yohe at Hancock High School and went to Bemidji State. He was a NIC runner-up and a two-time NAIA National Qualifier at Bemidji State for Ken Martin. Joel served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Joel’s teaching and coaching career came at Chatfield High for 31 years. His coaching record was 399-242-5. Joel’s teams earned three Minnesota State Tournament trips. The Chatfield Gophers won a state championship in 2014. They had 4th and 3rd place finishes at the state tournament. Joel drove the team bus for all 31 years. He has been a Section Rep, been inducted into the MWCA Bartelma Hall of Fame and MCC Region I Hall of Fame, and is now a nurse at the Rochester Mayo Hospital.