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Remembering Dave Schultz

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On this day when the national news is focused on the death of John E. du Pont, we ask those in the wrestling community to share their thoughts about the life of Olympic champion Dave Schultz, who was murdered by du Pont in 1996.

 

Post your memories of Dave Schultz below, and share your personal thoughts about his remarkable life on and off the mat.

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Never had the opportunity to wrestle with him .... but ....

 

1985, Oki City, NCAA Championships, I'm in the All-American / blood round -- had a kid from Stanford (Wiggens). I felt pretty good about my chances of becoming a D-I All-American (first for my college) until I looked over and saw Dave Shultz sitting in the other kid's corner. Tried to stay positive (giving myself pep talks throughout the match), but after every stoppage of wrestling, there was Dave Shultz, staring me down. :)

 

He was a national (and international) wrestling treasure! RIP - sir.

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Amazing human being.

 

I had my guys freestylin in Vegas once. Just before the finals, a few of our guys were riding the escalator up and then sliding down the rail to the bottom. Suddenly Dave was at the bottom as the wrestlers landed at the stairway landing...after a few moments of awkward embarrassment by our guys, he said looks like fun, and rode up and slid down the rails. I know it doesn't sound like such a big deal, but I had convinced our wrestlers that Dave Schultz was God. He won his finals match with some funky flip over the back from a front headlock technique. Our guys talked about it for years. He was such a bright spot in our sport. I've always felt that John Dupont was actually seriously mentally ill. I suppose such people are to be pittied, but he sure stole a jewell from us.

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Dave came and did a clinic in my hometown. I lived in the middle of nowhere. My coach convinced his wife to send him. It was my 2nd year of wrestling and I was catching on pretty quick. Low and behold when he came to show moves, he used ME! as a demonstration partner. I couldnt believe what was going on. I felt so special after that, like I was some kind of big shot. Him and his wife sent my coach a christmas card every year after that.

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Dave came and did a clinic in my hometown. I lived in the middle of nowhere. My coach convinced his wife to send him. It was my 2nd year of wrestling and I was catching on pretty quick. Low and behold when he came to show moves, he used ME! as a demonstration partner. I couldnt believe what was going on. I felt so special after that, like I was some kind of big shot. Him and his wife sent my coach a christmas card every year after that.

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Where to start?

 

My first thought after hearing that John DuPont had passed away in prison was one of due justice, which quickly turned to quilt that I found some sort of comfort is someone's death. Yet some acts are just too evil to forget. DuPont--evil and feeble DuPont--shooting defenseless Dave Schultz is one of those.

 

Now about Dave: I 1st met Dave @ the '76 pre-wrestle-off Olympic training camp @ N. Ill. Dave--the consummate student of wrestling--was a H.S. Sr. and had volunteered to wash the mats in order to watch and learn. After practice a few days into the camp, Dave mustered up enough courage to ask me, "would you go a TD or 2 w/ me." The last thing I wanted to do was go a few TDs w/ a H.S. wrestler after the punishing practice coach Baughman and Gable had just put us through. Nonetheless I obliged Dave. After we wrestled, Dave peppered me w/ questions. Like feeding a stray dog, Dave would return and ask me to wrestle regularly--which was the beginning of our bond.

 

As US National coach--'78 to '84--I had the privilege of coaching Dave @ the '83 World C. & '84 Olympics, so I watched him develop. The '83 World Championship was Dave's 1st. Until the '83 Worlds, Dave was generally second to Lee Kemp, our 1st US wrestler to win multiple World titles. In Kiev [not a hospitable environment for an American to wrestle Magomadov URS], Dave rose to the challenge and won the title on his first attempt. Dave eventually became the most technically knowledgeable and popular worldwide of our US wrestlers. He is missed.

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I was fortunate to have had Dave as my coach throughout my college carreer. On those tough days when I was beat up and broken, Dave was always the guy who would get me back on my feet, inspired, and wanting to train and wrestle more. He was always the guy that reminded me in his own magical ways that the grind of becoming a champion wrestler was a worthy one.

 

 

There are a rare few that could wrestle on his level, but, no one ever loved wrestling more than Dave Schultz.

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I was a coach at Foxcatcher in the early days of its existence, when they had just 1 mat in the room which was originally an indoor pistol range. I usually led the warm-ups and sometimes showed some upper body techniques. Mark Schultz and Dan Chaid were there at that time. Dave Schultz was not yet training there. We were all former University of Oklahoma wrestlers.

 

 

 

 

 

I had a following at Foxcatcher from the guys who wanted to learn Greco. It was pretty much common knowledge that DuPont was not interested in Greco because there wasn’t as much prestige in it from a US perspective. One day I and all my Greco followers were asked to find another place to workout as it was stated there wasn’t enough room for both freestylers and Greco.

 

 

 

 

I was told by my friends who remained at Foxcatcher that they would be able to convince Dupont to change his mind and ask us back. My wrestlers wanted to come back because of the facilities and the possibility of support from Dupont.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I told everyone, to their disbelief, that I did not want to go back there, even if asked by John Dupont himself. Although he helped me out a few times financially, he reneged on a number of promises to me, and he was not loyal to people unless it served his ego. I believed he could be dangerous, and saw him turn on people for the slightest difference of opinion or displeasure. I had heard he had pulled out a gun several times and thought himself immune from prosecution because of his money and close relationship with the local police.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dupont could be the nicest, most generous man, and then after some alcohol/drug use would be selfish, cruel and nasty. You never knew which Dupont you were going to get when you showed up at Foxcatcher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I first met Dave Schultz in 1976 when, as a top 3 finisher in the final Olympic trials and a recognized Greco technician, I was asked to give a clinic on Greco to high school athletes. Dave Schultz was one of those athletes. There was already talk about him from some of the freestyle Olympians who worked with him at the Olympic camp, about his incredible knowledge of wrestling technique.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ran across him in passing a few times in the early 1990’s at the University of Pennsylvania and a few other spots in the Philadelphia area. We both wrestled in the 1995 World Freestyle championships in Atlanta, with only a nod of recognition between us.

 

 

 

 

 

A number of months later in December 1995, Bev Collier, a friend who lived at Foxcatcher, invited me and my girlfriend over to Foxcatcher for a Christmas party. I was assured that DuPont would not be there, so I accepted the invitation.

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The Dave Schultz family, Jordanov, and others who lived there on the farm were most kind to me and my date. We had brought cards and a few small tokens, but were surprised and embarrassed that we were given wrapped presents with our names on them. Every one was very hospitable and interested in knowing all about my girlfriend and I and our wrestling involvements in Greco/freesyle/sombo.

 

 

 

That Christmas party was one of the most pleasant and enjoyable experiences I ever had in any area. Dave and Nancy Schultz were wonderful, accepting people to all who were there, and greatly esteemed and appreciated by all.

 

 

 

 

 

It was a terrible shock to hear about Dave’s passing several months later.

 

 

 

 

My girlfriend and I attended the memorial service for Dave at U of Penn, and I did say a few words personally to Nancy a number of years later when she took a team from the Dave Schultz Wrestling Club to the Deglane challenge inFrance.

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I was a coach at Foxcatcher in the early days of its existence, when they had just 1 mat in the room which was originally an indoor pistol range. I usually led the warm-ups and sometimes showed some upper body techniques. Mark Schultz and Dan Chaid were there at that time. Dave Schultz was not yet training there. We were all former University of Oklahoma wrestlers.

 

 

 

 

 

I had a following at Foxcatcher from the guys who wanted to learn Greco. It was pretty much common knowledge that DuPont was not interested in Greco because there wasn’t as much prestige in it from a US perspective. One day I and all my Greco followers were asked to find another place to workout as it was stated there wasn’t enough room for both freestylers and Greco.

 

 

 

 

I was told by my friends who remained at Foxcatcher that they would be able to convince Dupont to change his mind and ask us back. My wrestlers wanted to come back because of the facilities and the possibility of support from Dupont.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I told everyone, to their disbelief, that I did not want to go back there, even if asked by John Dupont himself. Although he helped me out a few times financially, he reneged on a number of promises to me, and he was not loyal to people unless it served his ego. I believed he could be dangerous, and saw him turn on people for the slightest difference of opinion or displeasure. I had heard he had pulled out a gun several times and thought himself immune from prosecution because of his money and close relationship with the local police.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dupont could be the nicest, most generous man, and then after some alcohol/drug use would be selfish, cruel and nasty. You never knew which Dupont you were going to get when you showed up at Foxcatcher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I first met Dave Schultz in 1976 when, as a top 3 finisher in the final Olympic trials and a recognized Greco technician, I was asked to give a clinic on Greco to high school athletes. Dave Schultz was one of those athletes. There was already talk about him from some of the freestyle Olympians who worked with him at the Olympic camp, about his incredible knowledge of wrestling technique.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ran across him in passing a few times in the early 1990’s at the University of Pennsylvania and a few other spots in the Philadelphia area. We both wrestled in the 1995 World Freestyle championships in Atlanta, with only a nod of recognition between us.

 

 

 

 

 

A number of months later in December 1995, Bev Collier, a friend who lived at Foxcatcher, invited me and my girlfriend over to Foxcatcher for a Christmas party. I was assured that DuPont would not be there, so I accepted the invitation.

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The relatively few postings in this entry are evidence of the passage

of time. In the past, this topic would have resulted in many more

entries than are here now. I have enjoyed reading posts about Dave

from Brother Morris and others.

 

Stung by the small number of posts, I was motivated to add my own,

though my direct knowledge of Dave is small. With that in mind, I'll

share under three categories: what I saw in person, what I was told,

and what I saw watching Dave on video.

 

1. Things I saw in person.

 

I didn't know Dave personally, but I grew up in Northern California

also and entered a few spring freestyle tournaments he was at. He

already had a reputation then and people would ring the mats when he

wrestled. These were small-time events and in order to get a lot of

matches Dave would enter two or three weight classes: his natural

weight and those higher up.

 

Dave would start these matches with something like both shoes untied

and a strap on his singlet down. After each period, he would tie a shoe

or pull a strap up. By the third period, he would finally have both

shoes tied and both straps up. He would get serious at that point and

quickly pin his opponent.

 

At one of these tournaments, I saw Dave wrestle Bruce Kopitar. Dave

was still in high school and Bruce had just won the state championship.

He was bigger than Dave and very muscular. Dave's body toned up over

time, but anyone who saw him in those days would know that his emphasis

was on technique, not conditioning or strength.

 

Before I knew who he would be wrestling, I saw Bruce huddled with his

coach, looking very concerned. Occasionally, he or his coach would

gesture to the other side of the mat and looking over I saw Dave. No

one who was just comparing body types would have understood Bruce's

concern or even fear, but Bruce knew what was coming. Once the match

started, Dave peeled off multiple grand amplitude throws, Bruce's feet

flying over his head. And my recollection is it was a freestyle match.

 

2. Things I was told.

 

I believe it was in an interview that I read Dave used to attend

practice at his high school (Palo Alto high), then walk across the

street to Stanford and attend their practice, and then drive to a

local Junior college (Skyline) that held evening practices and

workout there.

 

As an older guy with kids, I wish more kids were told about things

like this. Not everyone will choose to make the trade-offs Dave did,

but I think it would be helpful for kids to learn that when they

see phenomenal results - like Dave's - they should expect to find

a phenomenal amount of work - like Dave's - behind it.

 

Another highlight for Dave around that time, discussed in multiple

articles and postings, is that as a high school senior, at a

freestyle tournament, he wrestled an Iowa university senior who had

just won the Div I nationals and been voted outstanding wrestler,

and pinned him.

 

3. Things I saw in videos.

 

I think it is down now, but formerly the Dave Schultz wrestling club

had a web site you could order videos from. There was a set of three

that were recommended as Dave's best technique videos and I ordered

those. They included matches from one of the times Dave won the

national freestyle tournament by pinning everyone in his weight

class and various world level competitions.

 

Dave had evolved his style at that point into something that resembled

wrestling-jujitsu. He rarely worked force-to-force, but used moves

that gave him tremendous leverage. For instance, whereas I was taught

to work an arm bar high, up near the shoulder joint, Dave would work

it from near the elbow joint.

 

In one of the videos, Dave has someone on their back with a double arm

bar and his opponent swings their legs down, to bounce off their back,

but Dave kept both of the guy's elbows pinned to the mat. There must

have been a tremendous amount of torque on the guy's shoulders. As

soon as his feet touched the mat from his downward swing, he actually

jumped back to his own back, to relieve the pressure.

 

Another thing notable, especially in the freestyle nationals videos, is

how quickly Dave moved from a takedown into a turn. At about the time

most people are thinking "whew, I got the takedown", he was turning the

guy over. Consequently, at about the time most people would be thinking

"shoot, I got taken down", those wrestling Dave would be fighting off

their back.

 

I'll close with my wife's recollection of Dave. We were just dating at

the time we drove to attend a wrestling friend's wedding. While hanging

out with the groom before the ceremony, wrestling videos were on and my

wife - who hadn't watched any serious wrestling before then - remembers

seeing a guy with a doughy body and a big smile on his face just

dishing out punishment time after time to his opponents.

 

RIP Dave!

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The relatively few postings in this entry are evidence of the passage

of time. In the past, this topic would have resulted in many more

entries than are here now. I have enjoyed reading posts about Dave

from Brother Morris and others.

 

Stung by the small number of posts, I was motivated to add my own,

though my direct knowledge of Dave is small. With that in mind, I'll

share under three categories: what I saw in person, what I was told,

and what I saw watching Dave on video.

 

1. Things I saw in person.

 

I didn't know Dave personally, but I grew up in Northern California

also and entered a few spring freestyle tournaments he was at. He

already had a reputation then and people would ring the mats when he

wrestled. These were small-time events and in order to get a lot of

matches Dave would enter two or three weight classes: his natural

weight and those higher up.

 

Dave would start these matches with something like both shoes untied

and a strap on his singlet down. After each period, he would tie a shoe

or pull a strap up. By the third period, he would finally have both

shoes tied and both straps up. He would get serious at that point and

quickly pin his opponent.

 

At one of these tournaments, I saw Dave wrestle Bruce Kopitar. Dave

was still in high school and Bruce had just won the state championship.

He was bigger than Dave and very muscular. Dave's body toned up over

time, but anyone who saw him in those days would know that his emphasis

was on technique, not conditioning or strength.

 

Before I knew who he would be wrestling, I saw Bruce huddled with his

coach, looking very concerned. Occasionally, he or his coach would

gesture to the other side of the mat and looking over I saw Dave. No

one who was just comparing body types would have understood Bruce's

concern or even fear, but Bruce knew what was coming. Once the match

started, Dave peeled off multiple grand amplitude throws, Bruce's feet

flying over his head. And my recollection is it was a freestyle match.

 

2. Things I was told.

 

I believe it was in an interview that I read Dave used to attend

practice at his high school (Palo Alto high), then walk across the

street to Stanford and attend their practice, and then drive to a

local Junior college (Skyline) that held evening practices and

workout there.

 

As an older guy with kids, I wish more kids were told about things

like this. Not everyone will choose to make the trade-offs Dave did,

but I think it would be helpful for kids to learn that when they

see phenomenal results - like Dave's - they should expect to find

a phenomenal amount of work - like Dave's - behind it.

 

Another highlight for Dave around that time, discussed in multiple

articles and postings, is that as a high school senior, at a

freestyle tournament, he wrestled an Iowa university senior who had

just won the Div I nationals and been voted outstanding wrestler,

and pinned him.

 

3. Things I saw in videos.

 

I think it is down now, but formerly the Dave Schultz wrestling club

had a web site you could order videos from. There was a set of three

that were recommended as Dave's best technique videos and I ordered

those. They included matches from one of the times Dave won the

national freestyle tournament by pinning everyone in his weight

class and various world level competitions.

 

Dave had evolved his style at that point into something that resembled

wrestling-jujitsu. He rarely worked force-to-force, but used moves

that gave him tremendous leverage. For instance, whereas I was taught

to work an arm bar high, up near the shoulder joint, Dave would work

it from near the elbow joint.

 

In one of the videos, Dave has someone on their back with a double arm

bar and his opponent swings their legs down, to bounce off their back,

but Dave kept both of the guy's elbows pinned to the mat. There must

have been a tremendous amount of torque on the guy's shoulders. As

soon as his feet touched the mat from his downward swing, he actually

jumped back to his own back, to relieve the pressure.

 

Another thing notable, especially in the freestyle nationals videos, is

how quickly Dave moved from a takedown into a turn. At about the time

most people are thinking "whew, I got the takedown", he was turning the

guy over. Consequently, at about the time most people would be thinking

"shoot, I got taken down", those wrestling Dave would be fighting off

their back.

 

I'll close with my wife's recollection of Dave. We were just dating at

the time we drove to attend a wrestling friend's wedding. While hanging

out with the groom before the ceremony, wrestling videos were on and my

wife - who hadn't watched any serious wrestling before then - remembers

seeing a guy with a doughy body and a big smile on his face just

dishing out punishment time after time to his opponents.

 

RIP Dave!

 

Very cool, thanks for sharing!

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First, I don't get on the International forum too often, but I got on here this morning because I knew Brent Metcalf was wrestling in the Yarigan Tournament today....evidently God wanted me on here today so I would see the tribute Gary Abbott put on here for Dave Schultz (as the tears cloud my eyes pretty badly).

 

I learned a ton from Dave Schultz....mostly from clinics and tapes....I can pretty much remember where I learned everything I know about our great sport, and I probably learned more from Dave than any single person....a couple of his tapes are among my favorites to this day. He was definitely a master of our sport.

 

Favorite memories of Dave...some of his little phrases while he taught....."Darned if you do and darned if you don't", "On the other side of the coin", "That sounds right....that sounds real right"...can't think of them all right now.

 

How about his creativity.....the time he beat Kenny Monday in a match at the Olympic Sports Festival (if I remember right)......Dave was in on a high crotch, Kenny was in a crotch lift position, but Dave did a shoulder roll, in pretty much the same direction Kenny would have taken the crotch lift, and with much discussion Dave was given the points because he initiated the move and exposed Kenny's shoulders to the mat :O).

 

Then there was the time, he was coaching the World Cup team (1989) in Toledo, Ohio, and he let me take John Smith walleye fishing on Lake Erie on a cold March day (John caught a 6 pounder that day).

 

Another favorite story I have of Dave relates to Sean Bormet....Sean was getting ready to wrestle Pat Smith in the NCAA finals in 1994, and we were watching films of his match with Pat in the NWCA All-Star match....I told Sean I would do a changeover to take away Smith's spiral ride, but we hadn't worked on a changeover. Sean had mentioned that Dave wanted to talk to Sean, and I said you should listen to him, that it would be like having another coach in his corner. I wasn't on the floor for the match.....Sean didn't take down, lost a close match 5-3 I believe, and much later Sean and I were together at the hotel, and he said...."Coach B....couldn't wait to tell you this....remember Scultz wanted to talk to me, and I said "yes".....I asked him about the spiral ride, and Schultz said....if I were you I'd do a changeover :O)"

 

My last "Schultz story", goes back to '96, and I'm coaching 3 Michigan wrestlers in the Michigan International Open"....Sean Bormet, John Fisher and Kirk Trost....at the end of the first day Zeke Jones is wrestling a match, but you don't really realize what's going on....Zeke wins.....(remember the finals are the next day) they award him his gold medal.....he walks over to my son who is just maybe 10 years old, and has been begging to go home, saying "Dad, I'm tired", and hands my son, Bryce, his gold medal, saying "Son would you like to have this".....it's in a prominent place in my son's medal showcase, but the reason Zeke even had his match a day early was that he was leaving for Philadelphia, for Dave's Memorial Service.

 

I have an audio cassette somewhere that says you have maybe 5 signifigant emotional events in your life, where you can remember exactly where you were when something happened.....I can think of 6 for me.....when my parents passed, when my 6 year old niece died of leukemia, the day John Kennedy was shot....I was in my 9th grade English class, 9/11....I was in my truck on my way to the bank, during my planning period at school, and when I saw on the news that Dave had been murdered....January 26, 1996.

 

Thanks Gary Abbott for helping us to remember this.....we love you Dave, Nancy and family.

 

Edd Bankowski

 

P.S. Ironically, as I proof-read this, I think Yarigan was murdered too.....another one of the greatest coaches of all-time in our sport!

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I first met Dave when he was on his visit to OU when he was a senior in HS. I got to know him fairly well when he competed each year at the Sunkist International tournament in Phoenix.

 

He could be the absent minded professor at times. We were walking into the Senior Nationals in Las Vegas, he'd forgotten his competitor's pass, I vouched for him that he was indeed a competitor in the tournament.

 

He considered applying for the ASU position when bobby Douglas left to go to Iowa State, but was concerned about all of the NCAA regulations he'd have to deal with, and he didn't apply.

 

The last conversation I had with him was at the Sunkist Tournament the fall before he was murdered. I asked him when he was going to do a technique video since he probably knew more than anyone, especially in freestyle. He said yeah, I'm starting to forget I know things. I'll see someone do a move and say I used to do that. then he said if I do one I'd want some of this guys stuff on it, because its pretty good/ He then introduced me to Valentin Jordanov.

 

He always had time to visit, excdpt right before matches. I still miss him, and think what OU would have been like had he agreed to become the head coach there when Stan Abel retired.

 

Definitely one of the nicest persons off the mat anyone could ever know.

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P.S. Ironically, as I proof-read this, I think Yarigan was murdered too.....another one of the greatest coaches of all-time in our sport!

 

Ed he actually died in a car accident. But, yes another talent leaving this world to early.

You're right, but I had heard that it was mafia related.....just what I heard.....don't really know.

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Schultz memories; back in the day Dave came and worked out with our college team for almost a full week, anyway one day in practice he was demonstrating his front headlock series, Dave picked me to be his partner and he put in a front headlock and the next thing I remember is looking up at his laughing face! He applied the pressure just right to take me out in very short order! He apologized, but I can sometimes see that face and hear that laugh in quiet moments or working out! What a great ambassador for wrestling and on being a husband, coach, father, brother, son the right way for the right reasons!!!!!!

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Schultz memories; back in the day Dave came and worked out with our college team for almost a full week, anyway one day in practice he was demonstrating his front headlock series, Dave picked me to be his partner and he put in a front headlock and the next thing I remember is looking up at his laughing face! He applied the pressure just right to take me out in very short order! He apologized, but I can sometimes see that face and hear that laugh in quiet moments or working out! What a great ambassador for wrestling and on being a husband, coach, father, brother, son the right way for the right reasons!!!!!!

Great post....I could see that happening!!

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I haven't posted here because the subject generally doesn't do much for my mood. But this made me laugh:

 

Schultz memories; back in the day Dave came and worked out with our college team for almost a full week, anyway one day in practice he was demonstrating his front headlock series, Dave picked me to be his partner and he put in a front headlock and the next thing I remember is looking up at his laughing face! He applied the pressure just right to take me out in very short order! He apologized, but I can sometimes see that face and hear that laugh in quiet moments or working out! What a great ambassador for wrestling and on being a husband, coach, father, brother, son the right way for the right reasons!!!!!!

 

I hate being in a front headlock. It's a dominant position for the top man, though not many people use it well, these days, so likewise most people don't fear finding themselves there. As I've told a lot of athletes, I panic when the hands start to come around. "I fully expect to wake up with Dave Schultz laughing at me."

 

In fact, if I actually expected to find Dave laughing at me afterwards, I'd be happy to get choked out a whole lot of times... but that's not a particularly useful teaching point.

 

Last summer, I was at a camp with Les Gutches. At one point, he cautioned the athletes not to hurt each other: "If you break all your toys, you'll have nothing to play with." I got a laugh out of that, too. We're all still quoting Dave.

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Two of the most important contributors to whatever success I had in wrestling were my HS Coach-Gary Kreizenbeck @ Sacramento H.S. and Dave Schultz -Primary citizen of the wrestling universe. I went to a large inner-city, urban high school in Sacramento, CA. I had never really heard of wrestling until my middle-school baseball coach suggested that I go out for the wrestling to get in better shape for next season (for those who are innocent and unaware, getting in shape for next season is actually evil middle-school coach's secret code for carving off some of that lard, fatty:o: ).

Well, after one season, I fell in love with the sport and never looked back. Since most of our guys were 1st year wrestlers, and most of our tournaments were 0-2 and bar-b-que, Coach K worried that we were getting knocked out so fast that we never had a chance to watch really good wrestlers compete, so he made a rule that we had to stay at the tourny until he said we could leave, which usually wasn't until after our weightclass finals. This was great as we got to see a lot of guys whom we would never get to observe unless we were wrestling against them. Even then it was hard to really observe someone who was headlocking you into oblivion, or blast doubling you across 2 mats! I was lucky enough to be able to watch Dave Schultz on occasion and it was truely a learning session, each and every match. Seeing how he made up for a seeming lack of strength by applying excruciating leverage to one particular joint, and never letting up on that joint until the guy either turned over or the body part turned purple and fell off! Just watching Dave taught me that one of the major aspects of the sport is to impose your will, not just on your opponent, but on the body part of your opponent that you wished to claim as your own. Even if you weren't the strongest guy in the world, you could pretty much overpower any body part of your opponent with focus, determination and a clear idea of where and why you want that part to go in a certain direction. This was a true revealation to me and introduced the concept of FOCUS into my wrestling ideology, something I never forgot.

 

I was most impressed watching Dave at the HS state championship. That year it happened to be held in Sacramento, and coach got us in the tourney in exchange for being gofers-mopping mats, bringing coffee to the officials, etc. Dave had wrestled in Tblisi that year and missed the qualifiers for state. A committee of coaches decided that it wasn't fair for Dave to miss out on his senior year state championship, so they agreed to let him in where ever there was a hole, forfeit or bye at his weight or above. Well, the first open weight class was 167, just two weight classes over his usual weight class of 145. It goes without saying that Dave mowed through the field, with his closest match a 17-0 win over Rich Sykes :o , another hero of mine who was built like a smaller Brock Lesner. Rich went on to be a 2xAA. I learned here that when it comes to a battle between technique and muscle, technique usually wins!

 

Fast forward 7 years or so, and I had been so very fortunate to have been able to watch Dave several dozen times over the years and even practice with him once or twice. I was a better wrestler by now, having won a Jr. World medal, made a world university team as well as US teams to Cuba, Romania and Germany. My folkstyle was getting a little stronger too, as I placed at the Midlands and had taken 2nd at the D2 nationals, with a generous portion of what I knew and used coming from those observations of and the rare but valuable private coaching sessions (in exchange for being the willing acceptee of Dave's artful meyhem).

 

There was one story that I have shared here before, but will again at the risk of being redundant.

This story took place during my senior year, while I was wrestling as a heavyweight at San Francisco State. We had a home dual meet against Stanford University, where Dave was the assistant coach. As I mentioned earlier, I was a D2 runner-up at heavyweight and ranked in the top 4 or 5 at heavyweight in AWN. I was also 2nd on the Olympic Greco ladder for the upcoming Olympic Trials that coming spring/summer. Dave had been doing ok himself, having just won his first world championship and had placed 3rd at 180.5 the previous year. I was not aware that prior to the match, Coach Chris Horpel of Stanford and Dave had gotten together with my coach and informed him that they had no heavyweight and would have to forfeit our match. Dave came up with the idea of he and I having a freestyle exhibition match that they could bill as "Battle of future Olympians" or some such. My coach agreed with the idea, but, thinking that he had a sense of humor, told Dave and Chris not to mention anything to me about it until we went out to shake hands! Coach then came over to me and said that Stanford had this great new transfer from Oregon, but he had to weigh in earlier in the afternoon because of a big final that he had to take. He was driving up with one of the assistant coaches and would definantly be there by match time, so I should stay warm and get ready for a war! Well, that got me juiced up and I went around the gym, stretching and shooting and hitting fake throws and such. I noticed Schultz in sweats, riding a stationary bike on his teams side, but I thought "thats just Schultz. He's always warming up in sweats and wrestling shoes!"By the time the 165 lber went out, there was still no Stanford beast, so I ambled back over to Coach and asked what the story was. He said they had just called in from a gas station and were about 20 min. away, so make sure I was warm he said, giving me a stern look. Finally the 190lbers were out shaking hands. I noticed that Dave had removed his sweats and was just stretching on the floor with one of his Stanford boys. I kept looking around the room, but didn't see anybody who looked like a heavyweight. The 190 match ended quickly with a fall, I stripped down, thinking that I had figured it out...I was getting a forfeit!

 

Ha! I walked out onto the mat and here comes Dave at the same time. Odd. The PA guy was also announcing our international and national records too, which was real odd for a dual meet! What the heck? I looked back and my coach and teammates were laughing their heads off, as was the Stanford coaches and our AD. I smiled at Dave, and with only a bit of cracking in my voice said "Hey man, you wouldn't be the transfer from Oregon would you?" Dave just smiled some more and said "Lets have some fun Morris. Show these guys what freestyle is all about" :shock: . We shook hands and, as with most matches, the fear was quickly replaced by adrenalin. Dave took a quick outside single. I thought "Bad move man". I clamped down on a hard wizzer and prepared to hit him with my famous double over, hip toss. Somehow though, instead of my heel and calf catching his knee and thigh, sending him flying over my hip, Dave took a little step backwards and around to his right. The next thing I recall was my head, back and shoulders all hitting the mat at approximately the same time, with pretty remarkable force! After the ringing in my ears started to dissipate, to be replaced by the "oooohhhhs" and "aaahhhhhs" punctuated with the occasional "Oh my God!" or girlish scream. I checked my mouth to make sure that the girlish scream wasn't coming from my mouth, but it was pretty much locked shut from shock and awe! Dave hopped on top right away and I braced myself in my best gut wrench defense! I guess it was so good that Dave didn't want to even try and turn me with it, so he reached back and grabbed my left foot with his right hand. He cranked it up and over my shoulder with so much force, I really didn't feel much pain....until he crossfaced me with his left arm and drove my face from the mat to my right shoulder. I managed to open one eye and looked to my right side (Mr. Schultz didn't want me to look at my left side, and I thought it best to cooperate with his wishes from that point on. I noticed Dave's wrestling shoes and I recall thinking "Oh wow, Dave and I wear the same kind of wrestling shoes! It took a few minutes before I realized that I was looking at my own foot, planted nicely right next to my face! Well, at least I knew were to look for it after the match! Luckily for me, our AD was officiating this match as it was an exhibition. We went a few more minutes, with my AD stopping the match several times for potentially dangerous (I was wondering why he didn't do this right after the handshake!

 

Time [FINALLY] ran out. I stayed until Daves hand was raised and started walking off the mat, looking for the nearest ice machine to crawl into!It was my 1st and only collegiate loss at my home gym, and I was too sore to even whisper the word "bummer!", much less say it out loud in front of Dave. Before I could step off the mat however, I felt this hairy, sinewy arm wrap itself around my neck and shoulders and who else but Dave Schultz was escorting me off the mat. And just like the Dave Schultz we all know and LOVE, he sat down next to me and told me I did a good job out there, and that I just need work on defending the single leg, and a better way to keep my balance on my once famous hip toss, and how he expected me to dominate at D2 nationals (I did) and the Olympic trials (took 3rd) so that he can say he had a close one against a CHAMPION, not some scrub that just fell off the onion truck! That was Dave. Who else could beat you like a rented mule and leave you feeling like you were just a move or two away? Who else could pound your head on the mat and reframe it into a small mistake that you make on your way to a potent offense? No one but Dave Schultz. We miss you man. Miss you and love you and for many many many of us, you are still just a heartbeat away.

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