STILLWATER, Okla. – The National Wrestling Hall of Fame and USA Wrestling are excited to announce the release of the second episode of their Etched In Stone - Stories of Wrestling Legends podcast featuring special guest Mark Churella, a four-time All-American and the first three-time NCAA wrestling champion for the University of Michigan and hosted by Hall of Fame wrestling writer, broadcaster and announcer Jason Bryant.
Episode III will be available on December 1.
The EIS audio series will feature legendary wrestlers discussing the trials and tribulations they encountered on the way to becoming one of wrestling’s best. It will also include interviews with competitors, coaches, teammates and others who were part of the journey, giving additional insight on the legend. Podcasts are being produced by former wrestlers and wrestling insiders, who will utilize their knowledge and unique perspective to extract the stories that fans want to hear. Each series will also include a digital storybook, providing more insight and photographs.
One of the greatest wrestlers to compete for the University of Michigan, Churella is the first Hall of Fame Distinguished Member to be featured in the EIS series. He was named the most outstanding wrestler at the 1978 national tournament and is a member of Michigan’s “Hall of Honor.” A three-time Michigan high school state champion, he is a member of the Farmington High School Sports Hall of Fame and a charter member of the state of Michigan’s Wrestling Hall of Fame. In 1977, Churella was the United States Wrestling Federation Grand National champion and a Junior World champion.
He was head coach at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, from 1979 to 1984 when the Rebels dropped their wrestling program. While at UNLV, he created the Las Vegas Collegiate Invitational Tournament (now the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Wrestling Invitational), which remains one of wrestling’s most prestigious regular-season events. He worked as a graduate assistant coach and as a volunteer coach at his alma mater before taking greater responsibility in the daily operations and growth of family-founded FDI Group insurance agency. In 2012, the Letterwinners M Club presented Churella with the Ufer Award, presented to individuals who have exhibited “outstanding service” to the Michigan Athletic Department.
The EIS series was created by 1976 NCAA wrestling champion and Hall of Fame board member Pat Christenson, who also produced the Churella podcast with Bryant. Production is being completed on an EIS podcast featuring three-time world champion and three-time NCAA champion Lee Kemp. Episode I of the Kemp podcast will be available on December 8 with Episodes II and III launching on December 15 and 22.
Ryan Warner, a former wrestler who produces a very successful podcast, “Wrestling Changed My Life,” is working on podcasts on wrestling icons Dan Gable, John Smith and Pat Smith.
National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum
America’s shrine to the sport of wrestling, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum was founded as a nonprofit organization in 1976 to honor the sport of wrestling, preserve its history, recognize extraordinary individual achievements, and inspire future generations. The National Wrestling Hall of Fame has museums in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Waterloo, Iowa. The Stillwater, Oklahoma, location reopened in June 2016 following a $3.8 million renovation and now features interactive exhibits and electronic kiosks, as well as the opportunity to watch NCAA Championship matches from the 1930s to present day. It also has the John T. Vaughan Hall of Honors where the greatest names in wrestling are recognized, including iconic granite plaques presented to Distinguished Members since the Hall of Fame opened in 1976. The museum has the largest collection of wrestling artifacts and memorabilia in the world, including the most collegiate and Olympic wrestling uniforms. Wrestling truly is for everyone and the diversity and accessibility of the sport continues to be highlighted through exhibits featuring females, African-Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Latino Americans. There is also a library featuring historical documents, including NCAA guides and results, as well as books on the sport. For more information about the Hall of Fame, please visit www.NWHOF.org.