USA Wrestling

Jun 20 Distinguished Member - DEAN LAHR

June 20, 2014, 7:32 a.m. (ET)
His college may no longer offer wrestling, but Dean Lahr created a legacy at the University of Colorado that will endure. Although freshmen were unable to compete, Lahr took full advantage of his first year of competition for the Buffaloes.

As a sophomore, he was a runner-up at the 1962 NCAA wrestling tournament at 177 pounds. He lost, 3-2, against defending NCAA champion Bob Johnson of Oklahoma State. In fact, Lahr lost only three matches during his sophomore campaign, all of them one-point losses to Johnson.

The following season, Lahr won his first Big Eight championship and his first NCAA title. His only loss of the season came from 1961 NCAA champion Leonard Lordino of Northern Colorado when Lahr moved up to heavyweight.

In addition to his remarkable college season, he won the AAU national championships and represented the United States in the 171.5-pound freestyle class at the 1963 World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. He missed winning a medal by one place, finishing fourth in the world.

As a senior, the Buffalo standout finished his career by winning the Outstanding Wrestler award at the 1964 NCAA wrestling tournament. He is the first and only Colorado wrestler to win this prestigious award. Lahr also won his second Big Eight title and completed his first undefeated season. Lahr’s final college record was 58-4.

International success continued beyond college. Despite a knee injury suffered during practice a few weeks earlier, Lahr won the 1964 Olympic Trials at 171.5 pounds and was named Outstanding Wrestler. The injury ultimately affected Lahr’s performance at the final Olympic trials and he failed to make the team. Two years later, Lahr made his second freestyle World team, placing fifth at 191.5 pounds.

After his competitive career was over, Lahr volunteered as a coach at Pittsburgh from 1968-1969 and at Oregon from 1973-1976 before starting a business with his wife.

For wrestling achievements that continue to endure, Dean Lahr is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
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