National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Inductee: Tom Drake

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The second Frank Gotch Award winner is Tom Drake, a professional wrestler who scaled the heights of the state political scene in Alabama.

Drake was a star high school athlete in Alabama and at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. In college, he was a three-time conference wrestling champion and a standout football player. He played in two all-star football games and was also a top contender for the 1952 Olympic wrestling team.

While serving as a wrestling coach and assistant football coach at the University of Alabama, Drake served nine terms in the Alabama State Legislature, and was Speaker of the House (1982-87).

Wrestling pro for 22 years (from 1956-1978), he won numerous regional titles and challenged Lou Thesz for the NWA world title in 1962.

“We are proud to honor Tom in this fashion,” said Lou Thesz. “He has led a very interesting life and has been a great friend to wrestling on many levels.”