National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Ohio Chapter Announces 2019 Class

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National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Ohio Chapter Announces 2019 Class

Eight individuals have been named to the Class of 2019 by the Ohio Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

David “Clay” Burkhard, John Craig, Michael DeAnna, Joel Greenlee, Guy Sako, Jeff Simons and Eric Toukonen have been selected for their Lifetime Service to Wrestling, an award presented each year to coaches, officials and contributors who have given at least 20 years of service to wrestling. In addition, Joseph Scaletta has been selected to receive Outstanding American from the State of Ohio recognition.

The 2019 Ohio Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Banquet will be held on Oct. 6, 2019 at the Embassy Suites located at 5100 Upper Metro Place, Dublin OH 43017. The social will begin at 2 p.m. ET with the program beginning at 3 p.m. ET. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at oh-nwhof.ticketleap.com.

David “Clay” Burkhard competed for Ohio University from 1964-67, earning varsity letters in each of his final two years. Upon the completion of his collegiate career, Burkhard served as a varsity assistant coach at Fairview Park High School for three years before becoming head coach in 1970 and serving in that capacity from 1970-97. He guided Fairview Park to 203 victories, state duals championships in 1994 and ’95, 10 top-10 OHSAA finishes and six conference titles. He was named conference coach of the year eight times, Greater Cleveland Coach of the Year seven times and Ohio Coach of the Year in 1984 and ’88. Following his time as the Fairview Park head coach, Burkhard served as a varsity assistant coach at Columbia Station High School from 1998-01. In all, Burkhard coached 10 state champions, 19 state finalists, 35 state placers, 61 state qualifiers, 44 sectional champions and 69 conference champions. He was inducted into the Ohio Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Lorain County Wrestling Hall of Fame in ’92.

John Craig wrestled at West Liberty State College for three years, finishing as a 1972 NAIA National Tournament All-American Runner-Up, winning three championships and being named conference most valuable wrestler twice. He was named to the West Liberty State College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992. Craig then served as a head coach at four different high schools, with stints at Hillsboro High School (1972-74), Oregon Clay High School (1974-75), Steubenville High School (1975-93) and Indian Creek High School (1993-98). Craig guided 42 tournament championship teams, nine district championship teams, six conference championships and seven division winners. He mentored five individual Ohio state champions, 87 state tournament qualifiers, 23 state tournament placers and 31 individual conference champions. A five-time conference coach of the year and 1989 Ohio Division II Wrestling Coach of the Year Craig was named to the Ohio Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame in 1999. In addition to coaching, Craig spent 21 years as a wrestling official at the youth, junior high school, high school, open and collegiate levels.

Michael DeAnna enjoyed an incredible high school wrestling career at Bay Village High School, posting a 104-5-1 record, earning high school All-American recognition, winning three Ohio state titles and capturing two junior national freestyle championships. He was named the Cleveland Plain Dealer Athlete of the Decade in 1970 for his efforts. DeAnna went on to be a four-time All-American, four-time Big Ten Conference champion and two-time NCAA finalist while competing at the University of Iowa from 1976-81, owning a collegiate record of 123-18. Following his collegiate wrestling career, DeAnna was a two-time AAU national freestyle champion and was named a second alternate to the 1984 Olympic Team. DeAnna served as the head coach at Davenport High School from 1981-83 before becoming the head coach at Edinboro University and serving in that capacity from 1984-90. He was named the NCAA Division II Coach of the Year in 1986 and took a last-place Division II program and turned it into a top-10 Division I squad in just three years. He coached 22 All-Americans and the first NCAA champion in the history of athletics at Edinboro. He tallied four coach of the year honors during his career. After his time at Edinboro, DeAnna served as an assistant coach at Westlake High School from 1994-2000.

Joel Greenlee wrestled at the University of Northern Iowa from 1984-89, posting a collegiate record of 127-16-4 and went undefeated in dual meets. A four-time NCAA qualifier and two-time All-American, he won the Midlands Championship in 1989 a year after capturing a Midwest Championship, earning Outstanding Wrestler distinction at both meets. Greenlee also enjoyed success at the international level. He finished second at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in 1992 and was selected as a training partner for the Olympic Team. He won the Cerra Pelado Tournament in Cuba in 1993 and the Cuban All-Star Tournament in 1992. He placed third three times at the John E. du Post World Team Trials. Greenlee was an assistant coach at Northern Iowa from 1989-97. Greenlee arrived at Ohio University in 1997-98, being hired as an assistant/interim head coach. He was then named the full-time head coach before the 1998-99 season. Greenlee's accomplishments during his first season at Ohio earned him the NWCA National Assistant-Coach-of-the-Year award in 1998. His 1997-98 team finished ninth at the NCAA Tournament - the Bobcats' best finish since 1973 - and won the regular-season MAC title with a 5-0 record in the conference. He coached Dwight Gardner (158) to the school's first individual national title since 1978 and guided Shawn Enright (134) to a second-place national finish. Greenlee enters his 23rd year as head coach at Ohio in 2019-20. During his time leading the Bobcats, the program has logged 12 All-America honors has won two team conference titles and has accounted for 20 individual conference titles.

Guy Sako wrestled for Cleveland State from 1985-89, serving as a team captain in ’88 and ’89 and earning the status of NCAA qualifier in ’88. After serving as an assistant coach at his alma mater from 1990-92, Sako has led the Westshore Wrestling Club since 1996. He has coached over 35 wrestlers who have gone on to wrestle at the NCAA Division I level, including as many as 17 at one time. The group includes 10 All-Americans and two NCAA champions. Sako served as a Cleveland police officer for 25 years, working his entire career on the night shift so he could coach wrestling. In 2005, Sako created Defense Soap and still runs the business today with his family.
Joseph Scaletta wrestled at Ohio University from 1965-69. He then went on to serve as a coach at Columbia Station High School (1969-71) and Bay Village High School (1971-79). Scaletta guided Bay Village to an Ohio AAA Division Co-Championship in 1972 and a runner-up finish in ’76. His squads won a district title in 1976, sectional championships in ’74 and ’76 and conference titles in ’72 and ’76. Scaletta was named the state coach of the year in 1976-77, Greater Cleveland Coach of the Year in ’71-72 and conference coach of the year in ’72. Bay Village accounted for the most division I state champions (5) and place winners (4) between 1972-79. Scaletta served as the president of the Greater Cleveland Wrestling Coaches Association from 1974-75. Scaletta left teaching and coaching in 1979 to become the sales manager for Howard Ferguson's real estate firm, Professional Condominiums of America. He became a partner of Ferguson's in 1987, and, upon Ferguson's death in 1989, he bought the assets of the firm and renamed the company Scaletta Development Corporation. He continued to do condominium conversions but expanded to home building, specializing in 55-plus communities and building primary ranch homes. Most of his communities were named "Community of the Year" for the North Coast Home Building Association (Lorain County) and the Home Building Association of Greater Cleveland. One of his communities was voted "Community of the Year" for the state of Ohio and won many awards for being environmental friendly. He was on the Board of the North Coast Building Association and the Ohio Home Builders Association. He was inducted into the North Coast Hall of Fame in 2011. Joe met his wife at the 1972 sectional wrestling tournament, and they married in 1973 and had four children. They have eleven grandchildren and the six oldest boys wrestle -- three for Avon and three for Big Walnut in Galena. Joe and his wife reside on Kelleys Island during the summer and Don Pedro Island in Florida during the winter. He is being inducted as an Outstanding American.

Jeff Simons was a two-time state qualifier and placer as a high school wrestler in Illinois. He went on to be a four-year varsity letter winner, three-time NCAA qualifier and an NCAA All-American for the U.S. Naval Academy. Simons was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving as a supply officer and earning three letters of commendation and the Navy Achievement Medal. He left service as a Captain in 1980. In his post-collegiate wrestling career while in the Marines, Simons was a nine-time gold medalist in the Inter-Service Championships as a competitor, never losing a match. He was a silver medalist in the CISM Games in Tehran, Iran, in 1978 and a gold medalist in the CISM Games in Baghdad, Iraq, in ’79. Simons was a two-time gold medalist as a coach of the All-Marine Wrestling Team, leading the All-Marine Team to its first-ever win in the Inter-Service Championships and repeating the following year. He mentored multiple national champions, World Team members and two Olympians. While in the Marines, he was also a national freestyle runner-up, a national Greco Roman champion and a member of two U.S. World Teams and an alternate on a third. He finished fourth at the World Championships in Greco Roman in Sweden and was a champion at the Camaguey Cuba International Tournament. He also served as an athlete’s representative for Greco-Roman from 1978-80. Simons officiated for five years in Georgia and officiated three state tournaments and has officiated for 23 years in Ohio, including multiple district tournaments and four state tournaments. He has also officiated Beast of the East.

Eric Toukonen wrestled at Kent State University for three years, graduating in 1977. He then served as a coach for a total of 42 years between Garrettsville, Steubenville and Claymont High Schools, including 35 as the head coach at Claymont. He owns a career coaching record of 359-93, earning 1992 Ohio Division II Coach of the Year honors after guiding Claymont to a state title. He also coached two state runner-up teams in 2009 and ’14, three dual meet state runner-up teams in ’12, ’13 and ’14, 27 conference championship teams, 28 sectional championship teams and 16 district championship teams. He was named Ohio Division II Coach of the Year again in 2014. Twenty of his teams finished in the top 10 at the state tournament. Under Toukonen’s watch, 186 individuals qualified for state, 93 placed at state and 21 were state finalists, including 10 state champions and 11 state runners-up. Toukonen has been inducted into the Ohio Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame (2004), the Medina Tournament Hall of Fame (2014) and the Alliance Top Gun Tournament Hall of Fame (2015). He served as president of the Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association (1995-96) and was a member of the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee (1999-2002).
 

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Way to Guy and all of Westshore Wrestling!! Guy is a great coach and develops wrestlers; one of the best things you can say about a coach!
We are so happy for you and well deserved! Man you should see what goes in that room; it is awesome medicine for all and creates great men first; wrestlers second. The whole program is amazing in this regard! Want to learn a recipie for success? Listen to their words and follow their actions.
The Cleveland Browns could do well to listen to and follow West Shore's lead..so could all programs.
 
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