Hall of Famer Al DeLeon passed away on December 16th. He was 82 years old. A three-time state champion for Blue Earth High School and a two-time All-American for Mankato State, DeLeon was inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Dave Bartelma Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006. He went on to coach wrestling at Britt High School in Iowa. DeLeon is a member of the Iowa High School Wrestling Hall of Fame, the Mankato State University Hall of Fame, and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame with a Lifetime Service Award.
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 →
Hall of Famer DeWaine Silker passed away on November 4th. He was 91 years old. A native of Rochester, Minn., Silker was inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Dave Bartelma Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1988, the Minnesota Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2004, and the Mayo Civic Center Region I Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2007.
Hall of Famer Alexander MacDonald “Sandy” Keith passed away on October 3rd. He was 91 years old.
Keith served as a Minnesota State Senator, Minnesota Lieutenant Governor, and Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice.
Keith excelled as an athlete in football, wrestling, and baseball for Rochester High School. He placed third at 154 pounds at the 1946 Minnesota State Tournament. Keith played football and wrestled for four years at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Hall of Famer Jack Willhite passed away on September 11th. He was 88 years old.
Willhite founded and was the first coach of the Bemidji High School wrestling program.
He was inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Dave Bartelma Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2001.
Hall of Famer Kenneth Bergstedt of Maplewood passed away on July 3rd. He was 97 years old.
Bergstedt wrestled for the Minnesota Gophers in the late 1940s and was a life-long fan. He started the wrestling program at Alexander Ramsey High School in Roseville when the school opened in 1953. He taught at the school (now Roseville Area HS) for 32 years and was a wrestling coach there for 28 years.