The National Wrestling Hall of Fame-Minnesota Chapter Banquet will celebrate its 20th Anniversary at the Austin Country Club, 1202 28th Street, Austin, MN, on April 22nd, 2023.
20th Anniversary pins will be on sale at the silent auction. The live auction will feature California wine and magnums signed by The NWHOF Minnesota Class of 2023. The big news is that Sandy Stevens, one of the finest Masters of Ceremonies, will do the honors. Sandy teamed up with the legendary late Ed Aliverti back in the day! They worked the NCAAs for years. Sandy has also worked at the Olympics and the World Games, as well as being a distinguished Order of Merit member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
The Class of 2023 includes the following Minnesota Legends:
Outstanding American: Steve Carlson. Fridley Great and Captain of the U of M Gophers. He won the US Open as a true freshman at the University of Minnesota and was a team captain. Steve was an outstanding CEO in the wealth management business and raised millions of dollars for the Gopher Wrestling Club.
Lifetime Service Honorees:
Loren Hacker: An outstanding coach and contributor from Canby and Dawson-Boyd High School. He was an All-American heavyweight at the University of Minnesota Morris.
Mark Krier: A 35-year coach who has earned three State Assistant Coach of the Year honors. A three-time state high champion at Plainview High School, he wrestled at Augustana College and has coached at Owatonna and Zumbrota-Mazeppa.
Larry Mollins: An outstanding coach at Perham High School that produced individual state champions and collegiate All-Americans. He has been the voice of wrestling coverage throughout northwestern Minnesota for over 35 years!
Cindy L. Nelson: A Clash board member, Director of the Girls first Clash National Wrestling Duals, and a volunteer at 19 different events for the past 34 years. She resides in Mantorville, Minn. All family members have been involved in wrestling, and her husband Dean is a veteran official.
Al “Swede” Olson has played a major role in the Fosston/Bagley High School since he graduated from Fosston 47 years ago. Al has coached all 47 years and officiated for 45 years. Al and the Fosston teams have produced many state placewinners.
Bill Olson has been one of the finest officials in the state of Minnesota for the past 36 years. He has been the Head Official at The Clash for close to 30 years. A member of the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the Mayo Civic Center Region 1 Hall of Fame, and others. Bill was a standout wrestler at LeRoy-Ostrander High School!
Steve Ricard has done it all as a standout athlete at both Fertile-Beltrami High School and MSUM, where he earned Academic All-American Honors for the Dragons. Steve has coached all levels at Benson HS and youth wrestling. He is the President of the MWCA Hall of Fame, where he will be inducted in his hometown of Benson on April 29th.
Richard Saxlund: Coach Saxlund earned five halls of fame honors in his distinguished career! He coached for 35 years at Pipestone and had an undefeated season at Le-Roy Ostrander. Richard’s son was a three-time NCAA DII champion at North Dakota State. Richard coached for six more years after retirement as a junior high coach in West Fargo.
Joel Viss: A graduate of Hancock High School, he wrestled for Spencer Yohe back in the day. Joel was second in the NSIC and a two-time NAIA national qualifier for Bemidji State University. Joel’s Chatfield team produced 399 career wins, which included a Class A state championship and 3rd and 4th place state team finishes. Now a nurse, he also served in the Marine Reserves.
The event starts at noon, followed by dinner, a program, a video, inductions, and silent and live auctions. Tickets may be purchased at https://mn-nwhof.ticketleap.com/.