January 01, 1938 - April 22, 2012
Seldom if ever has anyone contributed to the sport of wrestling in so many ways, in so many places, for so many years, as Manny Gorriaran. Born in Havana, Cuba, at the turn of the century, he emigrated to the United States in 1936 and founded a firm-now one of the world's largest-specializing in the design and manufacture of jewelry and emblems. Because of his love of the sport, wrestling designs soon made their mark among his wares. He donated more than 100,000 emblems and trading pins to wrestling teams and organizations around the world.
Before leaving Cuba, he helped add wrestling to the Central American and Caribbean Games, forerunners of the Pan American Games. A year later, he formed the first Cuban wrestling team, bringing opponents from Miami for its first competition.
He is recognized as the father of the sport in Rhode Island, but his activities know no boundaries. He served as manager of U. S. teams in Pan Am, World and Olympic competition. While acting as announcer and interpreter for the Pan Am Games of 1959, he helped rewrite and translate the organization's bylaws to provide strong and fair rules.
He is best known for his insistence on the fall as the ultimate goal of amateur wrestling, and for inaugurating an award given at tournaments everywhere, the Gorriaran Trophy for the wrestler scoring the most falls in the least total time. In the early 1960s, he decided that wrestling needed its own "Heisman Trophy," and conceived an annual award to wrestling's Man of the Year. The first award, in 1963, was voted to his good friend, Jess Hoke. Two years later, Manny was elected.
For more than 20 years, he made and donated awards to all tournaments held for blind wrestlers, along with many special awards for conference, regional and national collegiate events.
For his monumental impact on the sport of wrestling, in the Americas and throughout the world, Manuel Gorriaran is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.