Philip's Lincoln McIlravy inducted into National Wrestling Hall of Fame
Lincoln McIlravy, Olympic bronze medalist and past Iowa wrestling star, was inducted as a distinguished member into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame on June 5 in Stillwater, Okla.
"When I was wrestling, I basically stayed focused on my next opponent," said McIlravy. "This honor is something out of your hands. It's a nice finish to my wrestling career."
McIlravy related that Lisa, his wife of almost 17 years whom he met in high school, said this indoctrination was a tremendous honor, a cap to a memorable career. He said that his four children think that it is pretty neat that their father received this recognition. They know a lot of the famous wrestlers, and have had some as guests in their home. His kids love wrestling and all sports - baseball, football gymnastics, soccer - there is just so much available that they haven't picked any single one yet.
McIlravy and his family are now kept busy operating an 81-room hotel. "After the induction ceremony and we head back home," he said, "I will continue to do the best job I can with my kids and my business. Family, career, wrestling, you never are exactly where you want to be, but it always pays off to give your best effort."
McIlravy said, "Philip is a great place to grow up. Some might say that there is not as much opportunity, but people there are not limited and they can dream big. I am very proud to be from Philip and had such a great upbringing. It's my hometown."
McIlravy said that his official acceptance speech was going to be tough. He said, "How do you ram a career into a minute-thirty?" But, he was going to thank his parents, his wife and kids, and all who contributed in any way to his wrestling accomplishments.
According to the induction records, "One of the most intense competitors ever to step on a wrestling mat, Lincoln McIlravy pursued championships from the time he was a very small boy.
"He started his run of national championships early, winning both cadet and junior national freestyle titles. He won five state championships for Philip High School and compiled a record of 200-25, piling up school records for most falls, most takedowns and most consecutive falls.
"In 1993, he won the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament as a 142-pound freshman, coming from five points down with 45 seconds left in the finals to defeat Fresno State's Gerry Abas, 16-15. As a sophomore he moved up a weight class, won his first Big Ten title and repeated as NCAA champ. As a junior, he was on a 52-match winning streak heading into the NCAA finals when the unexpected happened. Illinois' Steve Marianetti scored a 13-10 upset in the finals, depriving McIlravy of the chance to become a four-time NCAA champion.
"An Olympic redshirt year in 1996 allowed McIlravy to focus on trying to make the United States team for the Atlanta Olympic Games. He finished second in the U.S. Open Freestyle Championships and third in the Olympic trials. In 1997, returning to collegiate competition, he won his third Big Ten title and his third NCAA title. Overall, he finished his college career as a four-time All-American with a 96-3-12 record.
"Shortly after finishing his senior season, he won the first of four National Open Championships and qualified for his first U.S. World team. He won the 1998 Goodwill Games, placed third in the 1998 World Championships and was second in the World in 1999. In 2000, he won a freestyle bronze medal in the Olympic Games in Sydney.
"After a stint as an assistant coach at the University of Iowa, McIlravy served as USA Wrestling's national freestyle resident coach for 2001-2002.
"As a fierce competitor at every level of wrestling, Lincoln McIlravy is honored as a distinguished member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame."