The National Wrestling Hall of Fame and USA Wrestling are excited to announce the release of the first episode of their podcast, hosted by Hall of Fame wrestling writer, broadcaster and announcer Jason Bryant and featuring special guest Mark Churella, a four-time All-American and the first three-time NCAA wrestling champion for the University of Michigan.
Click here to read the digital storybook for Churella.
Episode II will be available on November 24 and Episode III will be available on December 1.
Churella is the first Distinguished Member of the Hall of Fame to be featured in the new podcast series, Etched In Stone – Stories of Wrestling Legends. 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 was named the most outstanding wrestler at the 1978 national tournament and is a member of the school’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.
“Teaming up with USA Wrestling on this podcast series provides us a great opportunity to further our mission,” said Lee Roy Smith, Executive Director, National Wrestling Hall of Fame. “It is providing us another way to preserve our sport’s history while also inspiring generations of wrestlers and fans by educating them about our Distinguished Members and their achievements.”
“We are excited to once again partner with the National Wrestling Hall of Fame to provide more exposure for some of our legends,” said Rich Bender, Executive Director, USA Wrestling. “We are confident that this initiative will enshrine forever the incredible story of wrestling’s greatest heroes while also bringing much needed attention and relevancy to one of wrestling’s great treasures, our National Wrestling Hall of Fame.”
Etched In Stone is the brainchild of 1976 NCAA wrestling champion and Hall of Fame board member Pat Christenson.
“As I made my first walk through the Hall, I was immersed and enthralled at the accomplishments of those inducted. But I wanted to know more. And I knew wrestling fans did too,” said Christenson. “There are very few stories about the legends of wrestling. Television production and book publishing are time-consuming and expensive. Consequently, few stories are told.
“Because the series is produced with audio recording and digital printing, we can produce stories every bit as compelling and professional as ESPN’s ‘30 for 30’ or ‘A Football Life,’” he added. “Because wrestlers or writers from wrestling markets are writing, producing and editing the episodes, the stories will have a unique story line.”
Christenson produced the Churella podcast with Bryant and is completing production on an EIS podcast on 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.