Oklahoma Chapter

Official State Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Oklahoma Chapter will induct 7 on Oct. 8

STILLWATER, Okla. – Seven individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of wrestling will be inducted into the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Doug Chesbro, Corey Clayton, Tim Johnson, Mark Kirk and Jack Spates were chosen for Lifetime Service to Wrestling, while Randy Ross will receive the Outstanding American award and Chance Leonard will be presented the Medal of Courage honor.

The Lifetime Service to Wrestling award is awarded annually to coaches, officials and contributors who have given a minimum of 20 years of service to wrestling.  The Outstanding American honor is given to former wrestlers who are highly successful and use the disciplines learned in wrestling in their profession and the Medal of Courage is presented to a wrestler or former wrestler who has overcome what appear to be insurmountable obstacles.

The seven new honorees will be inducted during a banquet set for Sunday, Oct. 8 at the Jim Thorpe Museum in Oklahoma City.  A reception begins at 3 p.m., with dinner at 4 p.m. and the induction ceremony at 5 p.m.

Reservations are $55 per person and can be purchased online at www.ok-nwhof.ticketleap.com or by contacting Howard Seay at c4dcowboys@aol.com or (918) 639-8868.


[caption id="attachment_310" align="alignleft" width="125"]Doug Chesbro 2017 Lifetime Service to Wrestling Oklahoma Chapter National Wrestling Hall of Fame Doug Chesbro[/caption]

Doug Chesbro, a graduate of Stillwater High School and Oklahoma State University, has racked up 247 dual wins during a distinguished 29-year career at three different schools. He spent four years in Wichita, Kansas and three in Shawnee before returning to his alma mater at Stillwater in 1996, where he still serves as head coach.  Chesbro has coached 29 individual state champions -- including a pair of four-time winners – and 71 state placers. Chesbro has led SHS to eight district championships, one state tournament title, one dual state crown and three state tournament runner-up finishes.  He’s had at least three individual state champions six times while at Stillwater and the Pioneers have finished in the top 10 of the Class 6A state tournament the last 15 years in a row.

[caption id="attachment_309" align="alignleft" width="125"]Corey Clayton 2017 Lifetime Service to Wrestling Oklahoma Chapter National Wrestling Hall of Fame Corey Clayton[/caption]

Corey Clayton wrestled at Norman High School in the late 1980s and competed for two years at OSU before entering the coaching ranks.  He spent 22 years as an assistant and head coach at Enid High School and Tulsa Union High School. Clayton compiled more than 150 dual wins and his teams captured four district crowns, two regional championships and a pair of state titles.  He had 15 USA Wrestling All Americans and three USA Wrestling National Champions. Clayton has also served as tournament director of more than 45 tournaments during his career, including dual state, regionals and Olympic Trials.

[caption id="attachment_314" align="alignleft" width="125"]Tim Johnson 2017 Lifetime Service to Wrestling Oklahoma Chapter National Wrestling Hall of Fame Tim Johnson[/caption]

Tim Johnson competed in high school wrestling in Pennsylvania and graduated from Oral Roberts University before embarking on a 17-year coaching career that ended with his retirement in 1997, though he continues to serve as athletic director at Coweta High School. He had a 141-43 dual record as head coach at Tulsa Union High School and Coweta, winning one state title at each school.  Johnson coached 23 individual state champions, including a pair of three-time winners. Johnson has continued to be involved in wrestling since leaving the coaching ranks, having served as a commentator for various radio and television broadcasts while also writing articles for various publications.

[caption id="attachment_312" align="alignleft" width="125"]Mark Kirk 2017 Lifetime Service to Wrestling Oklahoma Chapter National Wrestling Hall of Fame Mark Kirk[/caption]

A native of Perry who helped Perry High School win three straight state championships, Mark Kirk competed one year collegiately at Claremore Junior College and graduated from OSU.  He spent 13 years as head coach at both Heritage Hall High School and Junior High, then went on to coach junior high and high school in Yukon and Edmond before retiring in 2007 after 28 years. Kirk led Heritage Hall to one state runner-up finish and he won 199 duals as a combined junior high and high school head coach.  He coached 28 high school state placers, including 10 champions, and had 10 junior high state champions among 48 placers. Since leaving the coaching ranks, Kirk has continued to support wrestling in a variety of roles.  He researched, wrote and published a book on the history of Perry wrestling called “The Maroon Dynasty” in 2009 and was one of the driving forces behind the planning and building of the Perry Wrestling Monument Park that opened in 2016.

[caption id="attachment_311" align="alignleft" width="125"]Jack Spates 2017 Lifetime Service to Wrestling Oklahoma Chapter National Wrestling Hall of Fame Jack Spates[/caption]

Jack Spates enjoyed a prolific career as a high school competitor in New York and went on to earn All-America honors twice at Slippery Rock University, where he compiled a 118-8 career record. He began his coaching career as head coach at Baptist Bible College in 1975 and led that school to six conference championships before going on to serve as assistant coach at the University of Pittsburgh and the U.S. Military Academy.  Spates returned to the head coaching ranks at Cornell and in five years there racked up a 74-14-1 dual record with five straight Ivy League titles. Spates came to Oklahoma in 1993 to take over as head coach at the University of Oklahoma and guided the Sooners back to national prominence.  He accumulated a 243-97-12 dual record, won two Big 12 crowns and coached 56 All-Americans -- including six national champions -- during a stellar 18-year stint at OU that ended in 2011.

[caption id="attachment_313" align="alignleft" width="130"]Randy Ross  2017 Outstanding American Oklahoma Chapter National Wrestling Hall of Fame Randy Ross[/caption]

Randy Ross was a member of two state championship teams at Midwest City High School and wrestled collegiately at the University of Central Oklahoma, where he earned All-America honors in 1973 and was team captain. A volunteer coach in the Choctaw and Midwest City school districts for many years, Ross started officiating wrestling in 1977 and spent 27 years in the profession.  He worked 26 Oklahoma state tournaments, called two NAIA national tournaments that were held at UCO and was named one of the top five officials in the state 10 consecutive years. Ross has served for the last 10 years as Mayor of Choctaw and was named Oklahoma State Mayor of the Year in 2012.  He is one of only 56 members of the Oklahoma Accounting Hall of Fame, is a member of the Executive Board of the UCO Foundation and also serves on the Oklahoma Municipal Board of Directors.

[caption id="attachment_315" align="alignleft" width="125"]Chance Leonard 2017 Medal of Courage Oklahoma Chapter National Wrestling Hall of Fame Chance Leonard[/caption]

Chance Leonard has overcome a variety of heath obstacles to achieve great success, both on and off the mat. He was born premature and spent the first two months of his life in the hospital fighting to survive only to thrive and go on to enjoy a stellar wrestling career. A three-time regional champion and two-time state champion at powerhouse Perry High School, Leonard went on to wrestle at the U.S. Air Force Preparatory School and at OU. He qualified for the 1990 national tournament with the Sooners before his career was cut short by a spinal cord injury that eventually required several operations. Leonard has persevered despite all the setbacks, which included a horrific bicycle accident two years ago that resulted in multiple broken ribs.  He has spent his entire 21-year professional career in the medical device industry and is currently vice president of Stanmore Implants Worldwide. Additionally, Leonard played a leading role in the planning and development of the Perry Wrestling Monument Park that opened in 2016 and he is the driving force behind a movie currently being made about his hometown called “The Price of Legacy” that is set for an October release.

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