Memorial services for wrestling leader Set Agonian are Sunday and Monday in New York City

By USA Wrestling | Aug. 07, 2014, 9:35 a.m. (ET)
Photo shows Setrak Agonian receiving his National Wrestling Hall of Fame Downstate New York award from Sonny Greenhalgh and Lee Roy Smith.

International wrestling leader Setrak Agonian, the 2003 USA Wrestling Man of the Year, passed away earlier this week in New York City.

“Our sport lost a legend today,” said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender. “Setrak was not only a friend and mentor to many, myself included, but more importantly a friend and champion for anyone who ever had a dream to make themselves and those around them better. He was the epitome of an individual who lived to improve the lives of those around him. He was truly the ‘American Dream,’ a self-made man who made the world a better place. Never has our sport had someone more fiery or passionate about its success. Set will be dearly missed by our sport. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his lovely wife, Dede and their thousands of friends around the globe that truly loved this man known by many as just ‘Set.’"

Below is the information for Setrak Agonian’s funeral service and visitation:

St. Illuminators Armenian Apostolic Cathedral
221 East 27th Street (Between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
New York, NY 10016
(212) 689-5880

Visitation: Sunday from 3-5:00 PM
Prayer Service: Sunday at 8:00 PM
Funeral Service: Monday, Service 10:00 AM
Burial at Cedar Grover Cemetery around 11:00 AM

Agonian was active in USA Wrestling, the New York Athletic Club, the Metropolitan Wrestling Association and in many other wrestling-related activities. In addition to his USA Wrestling Man of the Year award, Agonian was inducted into the Downstate New York Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

For many years, Agonian served as the president of the Metropolitan Wrestling Assocation (MWA) in New York City, an allied member of USA Wrestling and a leader in the promotion and development of the sport in the East.

The MWA was the local wrestling group that played a key role in the organization and presentation of the 2003 World Championships of Freestyle Wrestling, held in Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Initially, Agonian and other New York-area wrestling leaders convinced the leaders of New York's Olympic bid group, NYC2012, to host the 2001 World Wrestling Championship in New York City, a bid which was award by FILA to USA Wrestling. A record number of nations and athletes registered to compete in the event. Just two weeks before the tournament, on September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked America, bringing down the historic World Trade Towers in downtown Manhattan. This unbelievable tragedy caused the postponement of the World Championships, which were ultimately removed from New York by FILA, and placed in Bulgaria and Greece.

Agonian and his New York peers did not want the terrorist act to destroy the tremendous opportunity for USA Wrestling and for the sport on the international level. The plan was to attempt to bring the event back to New York in 2003. Representing USA Wrestling, Agonian was the lead negotiator with the Slovakian Wrestling Federation and their Olympic sports leaders, and helped to convince the Slovakians to release the Freestyle World Championships to the United States, which was a tremendous success. For his efforts, Agonian was awarded the FILA Gold Star, the highest honor awarded by the international wrestling federation

His first major wrestling assignment was to serve as U.S. assistant team leader and interpreter for the 1971 World Championships, held in Sofia, Bulgaria. He was recruited into the effort by the legendary Bill Farrell. The next year, at the 1972 Olympics, Agonian assisted Farrell in the U.S. wrestling effort, helping handle the needs of the families of the athletes.

Agonian was involved as a team leader or administrator for a number of U.S. teams in international competition, including Junior and Senior level teams from 1974-1979. Working with Farrell, Sonny Greenhalgh and many others, Agonian was the founder of the Metropolitan Wrestling Association in 1984. This group was involved in bringing international wrestling competitions to New York, including dual meets between the United States and teams from the Soviet Union, Bulgaria and Armenia.

Agonian continued his international wrestling leadership by serving as a member of the FILA Marketing Committee beginning in 1987. His involvement in international athletics includes many other sports and activities.

Founded in 1973, Agonian was the CEO and founder of International Creative Metals, Inc., makers of unique ornamental architechtural metal work. His work can be found on many of New York's landmark buildings as well as in locations around the world.

April 9, 2004 Feature on Set Agonian