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Cowboy Wrestling Coach John Smith to be Inducted into Oklahoma Hall of Fame Tonight


Cowboy Wrestling Coach John Smith to be Inducted into Oklahoma Hall of Fame Tonight

STILLWATER – Del City native and Cowboy wrestling’s all-time winningest coach John Smith will be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame tonight.
The first wrestler to earn the state’s highest honor, Smith is joined by seven other members in the class of 2020. It marks the 93rd class to be recognized at the prestigious ceremony, and Smith joins 706 accomplished members.
The event to honor and celebrate the legacies of these inspiring Oklahomans will be held virtually and begins at 7:30 p.m. Fans can view the ceremony on, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame YouTube page or on Facebook Live.
“It feels strange being the first person inducted in the sport of wrestling. I think there are a lot of people who paved that way, and hopefully, one day we might see them as well. I’m humbled to be the first. I’m not sure that I should be, but I’m definitely humbled.” 
The four-time World champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist has spent the entirety of his life in Oklahoma and more years than not at Oklahoma State. 
“I think being raised in Oklahoma, my family being raised in Oklahoma, it has always been something in the back of my mind,” Smith said. “These things that you get at home have always been most valuable to me. This is home, and I think this is probably one of the greatest honors you could receive as a resident in the state of Oklahoma. For that reason, I always hoped it was something I could be a part of. I’ve been fortunate enough to get to spend my career in one place, in Oklahoma. A lot of people don’t get to do that, especially in the career I’m in.”
Smith has only ever coached Division I NCAA wrestling at Oklahoma State, but his imprint is strewn across the country with eight of his former wrestlers heading their own DI programs. Smith has represented Oklahoma on an international scale as a competitor and coach, beginning with his string of World gold medals spanning from 1986 to 1992. He coached men’s freestyle Olympic teams in 2000, 2004 and 2012 and most recently the Women’s Cadet World Team, for which he was named Women’s Co-Coach of the Year by USA Wrestling.
In his illustrious career, Smith has coached five NCAA Championship teams, 134 All-Americans, 32 NCAA champions and multiple Cowboy Olympians. In is 29th season heading the Cowboy wrestling program, Smith reached yet another milestone, becoming the fifth-winningest coach in Division I wrestling history with a record of 439-65-6. 
Coach Smith continues a legacy of truly remarkable coaching at Oklahoma State following the likes of the arena’s namesake Ed Gallagher, A.M. Colville, Art Griffith, Myron Roderick, Tommy Chesbro and his coach and mentor the late Joe Seay.
“Your impact is much greater as a coach. Your imprint on people is so much greater, and it should be. Across the sport and in lives of others. That role becomes greater and greater and becomes more important each year.”
The Cowboy head coach joins more than 50 distinguished Oklahoma State alumni in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, including T. Boone Pickens, Henry Iba, Allie P. Reynolds and OSU President Burns Hargis and countless others with OSU ties. 
This marks the latest of Smith’s numerous halls of fame honors. On top of being named to the 2020 Class of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, Smith owns a place in the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, the UWW FILA Hall of Fame and the National Italian American Sports Hall. Following his 1990 World Championship run, Smith became the first wrestler to win the James E. Sullivan Award, an honor bestowed upon the nation’s top amateur athlete. 



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