Wrestling and Pro Football Halls of Fame will have "Wrestling and Football" exhibit at NCAAs in Cleveland

By National Wrestling Hall of Fame | Feb. 08, 2018, 8:56 p.m. (ET)
Images show Wrestling Hall of Fame Distinguished Members Stephen Neal and Carlton Haselrig during their NFL careers.

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame is partnering with the Pro Football Hall of Fame to feature a "Wrestling and Football" exhibit at the NCAA Wrestling Fan Fest in the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland - Hall A on March 15-17. Held in conjunction with the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Cleveland, the Fan Fest is free to the public.

The Hall of Fame will also host a roundtable discussion, moderated by Sandy Stevens, with Pro Football Hall of Fame member and NCAA wrestling champion Curley Culp, two-time wrestling All-American and 14-year National Football League veteran Bob Golic, six-time NCAA wrestling champion and NFL veteran Carlton Haselrig, and two-time NCAA wrestling champion and three-time Super Bowl Champion Stephen Neal. Haselrig was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member in 2016 and Neal was inducted in 2012. The four will discuss their careers in wrestling and how wrestling played an instrumental role in their success on the gridiron.

The event will be held on Thursday, March 15, from 4:15-5 p.m. on the Fan Fest Main Stage in the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland - Hall A. Culp, Golic, Haselrig and Neal will sign autographs immediately following the discussion.

"There have been countless football players who say that wrestling played a big role in their accomplishments on the football field," said Executive Director Lee Roy Smith. "We have four individuals who achieved success in both sports, and are looking forward to hearing their stories about wrestling and how it helped them in the National Football League and beyond."

Culp wrestled at Arizona State and won the national title at heavyweight in 1967 while also capturing the Gorriaran Award for most falls after pinning opponents in the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. He won back-to-back Arizona state heavyweight wrestling championships in 1963 and 1964. He was an All-American in football at Arizona State and then played 14 seasons in the National Football League with the Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Oilers and Detroit Lions from 1968-1981. He helped Kansas City win the Super Bowl in 1970 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

Golic wrestled at Notre Dame and was a two-time All-American at heavyweight, finishing fourth in 1977 and third in 1978. He lost in the winner's bracket both years to three-time NCAA champion Jimmy Jackson. Golic was an Ohio state heavyweight wrestling champion, defeating Harold Smith, who represented the United States at the World Championships in 1981. He was a two-time All-American in football for Notre Dame in 1977 and 1978, and helped the Irish win the national title in 1977. Golic played 14 seasons in the National Football League with the New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Raiders from 1979-1992.

Haselrig competed when NCAA Division II champions could compete a few days later in the Division I tournament. Three years in a row (1987, 1988 and 1989) he won the DII title for the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and then captured the DI crown, finishing with six national championships, a record that will not be broken. Despite not having played football since high school, Haselrig was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 12th round of the 1989 National Football League Draft. He played four seasons for the Steelers, being selected to the Pro Bowl in 1992, and one season with the New York Jets before his NFL career ended because of off-field issues which he has since overcome.

Neal was a two-time NCAA champion (1998 and 1999) and four-time All-American at Cal-State Bakersfield, finishing fourth as a freshman and second as a sophomore. He won a gold medal at the World Championships in 1999 and won the FILA Outstanding Wrestler award, presented to the best wrestler in the world. After placing second at the 2000 Olympic Trials, Neal turned his attention to professional football. Despite never playing football in college, he played 10 years in the NFL for New England and helped the Patriots win Super Bowl titles in 2002, 2004 and 2005.

Schedule of Events

Thursday, March 15
3-7 p.m. NCAA Fan Festival and Win Magazine Memorabilia Show at Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland - Hall A
5:15-6 p.m. National Wrestling Hall of Fame Roundtable Discussion Wrestling and Football
6-6:30 p.m. Autograph session with Curley Culp, Bob Golic, Carlton Haselrig and Stephen Neal

Friday, March 16
2-7:30 p.m. NCAA Fan Festival and Win Magazine Memorabilia Show at Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland - Hall A

Saturday, March 17
3-7:30 p.m. NCAA Fan Festival and Win Magazine Memorabilia Show at Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland - Hall A