Jack Gause, a Meritorious Official inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2001, passed away on July 6, at the age of 88. Glause also received the Lifetime Service to Wrestling award from the Minnesota Chapter of the Hall of Fame in 2015.
A celebration of Gause’s life will be held on July 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Plymouth Creek Center, 14800 34th Avenue N. Plymouth, Minnesota. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorials in Gause’s honor to the St. Cloud State University Wrestling program: SCSU Wrestling Foundation, c/o Jack Gause Memorial Fund, 720 Fourth Ave S, HAH 307, St. Cloud, Minnesota, 56301.
“Jack Gause’s body of work as a coach and official in the sport of wrestling was extensive and significant,” said Lee Roy Smith, Executive Director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. “During a major growth period for wrestling in the 1970s, he helped many athletes, coaches and officials in the United States have a better understanding and application of the international rules. On behalf of our Board of Governors, we extend our condolences to his family, former wrestlers, coaches and teammates who knew and worked with him.”
In an era when only a few American officials were qualified to referee at international events, Gause came upon the scene. He assisted no less than 160 referees in obtaining their international licenses so that the major competitions would not be limited to a privileged few.
Gause was the first National Officials Chairman to make sure that every National Championship, from the kids all the way up to the seniors, had the same consistent application of the rules. He did this by attending nearly every championship and personally conducting the rules interpretation for two years.
He implemented the concept of a point system for ranking referees and also hosted the first FILA Officials and Coaches Clinic ever to be held in the United States. From 1970 to 1976, Gause officiated the Pan-American games and four World Cups. He also refereed seven World Tournaments and the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Gause received the Gold Star from FILA and served as the 1978 Team Leader for the U.S. Team at the World Championships.
Gause authored Minnesota legislation that provided for public employees to have 90 days of paid leave absence if a member of an international team. Many other states have since used this as a model for similar legislation.
Gause helped establish the SCSU wresting program as the team’s first head coach in 1949-50. A U.S. Navy veteran, commercial diver and a longtime wrestling coach and official, Gause was born in 1930 in Portland, Oregon. He moved to Minneapolis in 1931 and later moved to Robbinsdale in 1939. He attended St. Cloud State from 1949-50 and coached the Huskies’ first wrestling team that season. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War and later returned to SCSU and obtained a master’s degree. Gause went on to teach math and coach wrestling at Columbia Heights High School.
Gause was inducted into the SCSU Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2009. The SCSU Wrestling Hall of Fame and the award presented to the wrestler with the most pins at the annual Husky Open tournament at SCSU are both named in Glause’s honor.