Leroy Kemp Jr.

December 24, 1956 - Present

By today's standards, Leroy Kemp started late in wrestling, not until ninth grade. But once started, he scaled the heights faster and farther than any American wrestler before him. Three NCAA titles, three World championships, four World Cups and two gold medals in the Pan American Games are just the highlights of his career.

A state high school champion at Chardon, Ohio, he gained attention by winning the Junior Nationals in 1974. At Wisconsin, where he acquired the nickname "Lee," he soon became a national headliner.

Kemp reached the NCAA finals as a true freshman, only to be turned back by a split decision in overtime. He would not lose another college bout. The next three years, he posted 108 victories and one draw, and won three NCAA titles at 158 pounds, closing at 143-6-1, with victories in 96 consecutive matches and an unbeaten string of 109 in a row.

The draw with Kelly Ward of Iowa State in the 1978 All-Star Classic kept Kemp from an all-time record collegiate winning streak. Ward was tough in the national finals, too, but with a 10-8 victory Lee became the first black wrestler to earn three NCAA titles.

On August 27, 1978, in his first international tournament, Kemp defeated Alexandre Nanev of Bulgaria in the finals at Mexico City and won the World Freestyle championship. At the age of 21 years, 8 months, he had become the youngest American to capture a gold medal.

Kemp won seven national Freestyle titles. He repeated as World champ in 1979 and 1982 - the first American to win three times - and added a bronze in 1981. Four years in a row, he won the World Cup, again the first American to do so. The Pan American Games of 1979 and 1983 provided further triumphs. Lee made the 1980 Olympic team, and was an overwhelming favorite for Moscow, until President Carter's boycott.

As an athlete of unparalleled achievement, and world class in the full sense of that expression, Leroy Percy Kemp Jr. is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Awards:

Year
1990
Award
Distinguished Member
Chapter/Region
National

All American Awards:

Season
1978
School
Wisconsin
Tournament
Division I
Weight
158
Place
1
Season
1977
School
Wisconsin
Tournament
Division I
Weight
158
Place
1
Season
1976
School
Wisconsin
Tournament
Division I
Weight
158
Place
1
Season
1975
School
Wisconsin
Tournament
Division I
Weight
150
Place
2

College Season Records:

Season
1978
School
Wisconsin
Class
Senior
Bouts
32
Wins
31
Losses
0
Ties
1
Falls
14
Win PCT.
96.88
Place
1st
Season
1977
School
Wisconsin
Class
Junior
Bouts
41
Wins
40
Losses
1
Ties
0
Falls
18
Win PCT.
97.56
Place
1st
Season
1976
School
Wisconsin
Class
Sophomore
Bouts
39
Wins
39
Losses
0
Ties
0
Falls
0
Win PCT.
100
Place
1st
Season
1975
School
Wisconsin
Class
Freshman
Bouts
38
Wins
33
Losses
5
Ties
0
Falls
0
Win PCT.
86.84
Place
2nd
Season
Career
Bouts
150
Wins
143
Losses
6
Ties
1
Falls
32
Win PCT.
95.33

All Rankings:

Season
1978
Rank Date
02/18/1978
Weight
158
Rank
1
School
Wisconsin
Season
1977
Rank Date
02/19/1977
Weight
158
Rank
1
School
Wisconsin
Season
1976
Rank Date
02/14/1976
Weight
158
Rank
1
School
Wisconsin

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