Pac-12 All-Century Wrestling Team announced as Neal and Gutches named co-Wrestlers of the CenturyAll-Century team comprised of 28 wrestlers, 28 individual titles, 25 Pac-12 Wrestler of the Year awards and 70 Conference titles
SAN FRANCISCO (February 23, 2016) - The Pac-12 Wrestling All-Century team, announced on Monday’s episode of ‘Pac-12 Sports Report’, contains 28 of the Conference’s most talented wrestlers. This talented group was voted on by a panel of 20 experts, including coaches, wrestlers, administrators and members of the media.
In each of the 10 weight classes, the two wrestlers who received the most votes made the All-Century Team. Eight additional “wildcard” wrestlers were selected by a second vote of the remaining nominees.
The first Wrestler of the Century vote resulted in a tie, forcing a second vote. Once again, the vote ended in a tie, making Les Gutches and Stephen Neal co-Wrestlers of the Century.
With nine wrestlers each, Arizona State and Oregon State lead the team in representation. Among the 28 wrestlers, 28 individual titles, 25 Pac-12 Wrestler of the Year awards and 70 Conference titles were won. Eric Larkin, Markus Mollica and Stephen Neal tied for most Conference titles with four each. Five All-Century team members competed in the Olympics--Robin Reed won a gold medal in 1924 and Zeke Jones won a silver medal in 1992.
Les Gutches, one of the Wrestlers of the Century, compiled a career record of 134-10. During his time at Oregon State, he won two NCAA titles at 177 and was named an Academic All-American three times. In addition to earning the title Outstanding Wrestler at the NCAA Championships his senior year, he went on to compete at the international level. He won a gold medal at the 1997 World Championships, a bronze medal at the 1999 World Championships, a gold medal at the 1998 Goodwill Games and competed in the 1996 Olympic Games. He went on to coach at Oregon State.
Sharing the title with Gutches is Stephen Neal, who competed for CSU Bakersfield from 1996 to 1999. Neal received numerous accolades during his career including two NCAA Championships, four Pac-12 championships and four All-American honors. In 1999, he won the Hodge Trophy after remaining undefeated over his final two seasons in Bakersfield. After winning the NCAA Championship as a senior, Neal went on to capture the freestyle title at the 1999 Pan-Am Games before winning the 1999 World freestyle World Championships, making him the only wrestler in history to win all three of those titles in the same year. Despite having a bright future in wrestling, Neal decided to pursue a career in football. He spent 10 years with the New England Patriots as a right guard and was a part of three Super Bowl wins.
Dale Thomas, the Coach of the Century, retired in 1990 as the NCAA’s all-time winningest coach. During his 34 years at the helm at Oregon State, he posted a record of 616-169-12 and coached 60 All-Americans. Under his guidance, the Beavers dominated the Pac-12 and won 15 straight Conference titles from 1959 to 1973. Thomas was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1980.
See below for the entire team:
Pac-12 All-Century Wrestling roster
Anthony Robles, Arizona State (2008-2011)--125 lbs
Zeke Jones, Arizona State (1987-1990)--125 lbs
John Miller, Oregon (1967-1970)--125 lbs
Tanner Gardner, Stanford (2005-2008)--125 lbs
Shawn Charles, Arizona State (1990-1993)--133 lbs
Babak Mohammadi, Oregon State (1991-1995)--133 lbs
Robin Reed, Oregon State (1923-1924)--141 lbs
Derek Moore, UC-Davis (2002-2007)--141 lbs
Roger Weigel, Oregon State (1969-1971)--141 lbs
Eric Larkin, Arizona State (1999-2003)--149 lbs
Larry Owings, Washington (1970-1972)--149 lbs
Dan Hicks, Oregon State (1976-1979)--149 lbs
Matt Gentry, Stanford (2002-2005)--157 lbs
Ben Cherrington, Boise State (2002-2006)--157 lbs
Markus Mollica, Arizona State (1993-1996)--165 lbs
Steve Blackford, Arizona State (1997-2001)--165 lbs
Kirk White, Boise State (1997-2001)--165 lbs
Dan St. John, Arizona State (1986-1990)--174 lbs
Ray Miller, Arizona State (1990-1993)--174 lbs
Les Gutches, Oregon State (1993-1996)--184 lbs
Shane Webster, Oregon (2001-2006)--184 lbs
Greg Strobel, Oregon State (1971-1974)--197 lbs
Howard Harris, Oregon State (1977-1980)--197 lbs
Mike Davies, Arizona State (1984-1988)--197 lbs
Stephen Neal, CSU Bakersfield (1996-1999)--Heavyweight
Jess Lewis, Oregon State (1968-1970)--Heavyweight
Larry Bielenberg, Oregon State (1974-1977)--Heavyweight
Fred Bohna, UCLA (1976-1979)--Heavyweight
Coach of the Century
Dale Thomas, Oregon State (1956-1990)
Wrestlers of the Century
Les Gutches, Oregon State (1993-1996)
Stephen Neal, CSU Bakersfield (1996-1999)
About Pac-12 Networks
Pac-12 Networks is the innovative TV and multimedia company of the Pac-12 Conference, and is the first such company to be wholly owned by 12 universities. Pac-12 Networks incorporates one national and six regional television networks, plus extensive digital content accessible through social media, university websites, and Pac-12 Now, its TV Everywhere service. Each year, Pac-12 Networks offers live coverage of 850 sporting events, making it one of the top live sports producers in the country. In addition, Pac-12 Networks creates extensive original programming, provides visibility for marquee football and basketball events as well as traditionally under-served women’s and Olympic sports. Pac-12 Networks also provides training and paid internships for thousands of students of the Pac-12’s member universities, preparing them for careers in media. With headquarters in San Francisco’s SOMA District, Pac-12 Networks draws on the creative, entrepreneurial, and technological culture of the Bay Area and nearby Silicon Valley. For more information, go to http://pac-12.com/networks.