Sonny Greenhalgh

His most significant achievement may be his work with the New York Athletic Club, but Bethel “Sonny” Greenhalgh’s leadership and vision helped the United States become a world power in wrestling.

Greenhalgh walked on to the Syracuse wrestling team in 1959, eventually becoming a starter for three seasons and a third place finisher at the prestigious Eastern Intercollegiate Athletic Association conference tournament in 1963. He also served as an assistant wrestling coach at Syracuse from 1963 through 1968.

But that was only the start of the influence he would have the sport. From 1977 through 2008, Greenhalgh was the wrestling chairman of the New York Athletic Club. The New York Athletic Club became one the best club programs in the nation, developing many World and Olympic medalists for the United States in all three styles.

The star athletes he mentored include two-time Olympic champion Bruce Baumgartner, Olympic champion Bobby Weaver, two-time World champion Kristie Marano, and World champion Joe Warren.

All told, the New York Athletic Club produced 28 National team championships, 21 U.S. Olympians, 73 U.S. World team members, and 33 World level medals during Greenhalgh’s 31 years of leadership.

Included in those numbers are three Olympic gold medals, one Olympic silver medal, and one Olympic bronze medal. And the medals count at the World championships was even higher: six World gold medals, 13 World silver medals, and 9 World bronze medals.

Greenhalgh continues to serve as the tournament director for the New York Athletic Club International Wrestling Championships, a position he has held since 1973. This prestigious tournament is one of the most significant international wrestling tournaments in the world.

USA Wrestling named Greenhalgh Man of the Year in 2008 for his contributions to the sport.


Order of Merit
Lifetime Service to Wrestling
New York - Downstate

Our Mission: To honor the sport of wrestling by preserving its history, recognizing extraordinary individual achievements, and inspiring future generations