Hall of Fame Will Host Autograph Session With Olympians and NCAA Champions
The National Wrestling Hall of Fame has announced that it will host an autograph session with National Wrestling Hall of Fame Distinguished Members Kendall Cross, Kenny Monday and Pat Smith, and NCAA champion and Olympic coach Tadaaki Hatta on Thursday, March 16 from 3:15 to 3:45 p.m. on the Main Stage at the NCAA Fan Festival in the Tulsa Ballroom at the Cox Convention Center.
“We’re excited to give wrestling fans the unique opportunity to get autographs from multiple Olympic and NCAA champions at the same time,” said Lee Roy Smith, Executive Director, National Wrestling Hall of Fame. “There was a time when each of these wrestlers called Oklahoma home, but now they work as coaches all over the United States. It’s nearly impossible to get them together like this, so wrestling fans won’t want to miss this opportunity.”
The Hall of Fame will present “How Japanese Wrestlers Made NCAA History” featuring NCAA champion Hatta on Thursday, March 16 at 2:30 p.m. on the Main Stage at the NCAA Fan Festival in the Tulsa Ballroom at the Cox Convention Center.
Held in conjunction with the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Fan Fest will be held in the Tulsa Ballroom at the Cox Convention Center while the Win Magazine Fan Expo will be held in the Tulsa Gallery at the Cox Convention Center. Both events are free to the public.
A state champion for Mustang High School in Mustang, Oklahoma, Cross was an NCAA champion and three-time All-American for Oklahoma State. After finishing sixth at the 1992 Olympics, Cross returned in 1996 and won a gold medal at the Olympics in Atlanta.
A four-time undefeated state champion for Tulsa Washington High School, Monday was an NCAA champion and three-time finalist for Oklahoma State. He represented the United States in three consecutive Olympics from 1988 to 1996. He became the first Black wrestler to win Olympic gold in 1992 and captured silver in 1992. Monday is the head wrestling coach at Morgan State University, the only the only Historically Black College or University to offer NCAA Division I wrestling.
Smith made wrestling history when he became the first wrestler to win four NCAA Division I national championships. Competing for Oklahoma State, he captured titles in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1994, all at 158 pounds, and helped OSU win team titles in 1990 and 1994. He was named the 1994 Amateur Wrestling News Man of the Year and was one of just 15 athletes named to the NCAA 75th Anniversary Wrestling Team.
Hatta came to Oklahoma State from Tokyo, Japan and was an NCAA champion and two-time All-American who helped OSU win NCAA titles in 1964 and 1966 while finishing second in 1965. He was on the U.S. Olympic freestyle men’s team coaching staff in 1988, 1992 and 1996. He coached the Japanese Olympic team in 1968 and 1984 and the Mexican Olympic team in 1972. He was an assistant coach for the U.S. Women’s team for the 2004 Olympics, the first Olympics where women competed in wrestling, and returned to the 2008 Olympics as head coach of the U.S. Women’s team. Hatta works with the New York Athletic Club women’s team and also volunteers with Cleveland Beat the Streets. He is also an assistant coach for the St. Ignatius High School rugby team, which won the high school national championship and the Ohio state championship in 2022, Hatta is also a consultant for the St. Ignatius wrestling team and for Nike Wrestling. He has taught and coached wrestling at every level, from youth clubs to the Olympics.