Hall of Fame biography: Nancy Schultz Vitangeli, Order of Merit

By National Wrestling Hall of Fame | June 01, 2018, 8:56 a.m. (ET)
Nancy Schultz Vitangeli has been involved in wrestling since meeting Dave Schultz when the two were attending the University of Oklahoma. They were married in 1982 and were together until 1996 when the Olympic and World champion was murdered.

Following Dave’s death, Schultz Vitangeli founded the Dave Schultz Wrestling Club which sponsored 20 displaced athletes from Team Foxcatcher, providing them with training and coaching resources through the 1996 Olympics. The Dave Schultz Wrestling Club continued until 2005 and trained athletes in men’s and women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman, including Olympic gold medalists and Distinguished Members Kurt Angle and Brandon Slay, Olympic bronze medalist Patricia Miranda, and two-time NCAA Champion, World Champion and Distinguished Member Stephen Neal.

Twenty years ago, Schultz Vitangeli helped begin the Dave Schultz Memorial Tournament, which annually hosts elite international athletes. She also helped create the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award in 1996, an award that is presented annually by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame to top high school wrestlers based on wrestling, scholastic achievement and citizenship.

She worked with ASICS to promote the Dave Schultz wrestling shoes, and helped facilitate the Dave Schultz video anthology series, featuring techniques used in competition by Dave from 1986 to 1995. She is a partner at RUDIS, a sports apparel company dedicated to the sport of wrestling. Schultz Vitangeli is a Governor’s Associate for the Hall of Fame and an honorary board member for USA Wrestling, and served as honorary co-chairperson for “Wrestling for the Next Millennium,” a capital campaign designed to ensure that the oldest sport thrives in the 21st century and beyond.

Schultz Vitangeli was named Woman of the Year by USA Wrestling in 1998 and was co-chair of USA Wrestling’s Foundation Gala in 2016. She was inducted into the California Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006 and received the Lifetime Service to Wrestling award from the California Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2013.

She served as executive producer for Team Foxcatcher, an Emmy Award-nominated documentary that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and became one of Netflix’s most popular selections. She also was a consultant on the Oscar-nominated major motion picture Foxcatcher.

For her sacrifice, service and dedication to the sport of wrestling for so many years, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame is proud to present Nancy Schultz Vitangeli with the 2018 Order of Merit.