Dustin Fox, 2008 NCAA heavyweight champ, can add another huge honor to his wrestling resume: member of the Northwestern Athletic Hall of Fame.
The Evanston, Ill. based school announced Fox as a member of its Class of 2013 on Wednesday, Dec. 11... less than a week before the former Wildcat mat champ's 28th birthday on Dec. 16.
A native of Galion, Ohio, Fox posted a 109-29 overall record at Northwestern. He was a four-time NCAA qualifier and two-time All-American who concluded his college mat career by winning the 2008 NCAA Division I title in the 285-pound weight class in St. Louis. In the championship match, Fox defeated a fellow Ohioan, J.D. Bergman of Ohio State, in a nail-biter of a bout, 4-2 SV 2.
In its article announcing Fox's upcoming honor, the Northwestern wrestling website said, "Fox sustained a cut to his head, which continued to bleed during the championship match. After trainers continued to fix the cut, his headgear broke and Fox also fought off a blow to the nose, which left it broken and bloody. In true grit fashion, Fox defeated Bergman with a takedown in the match's second sudden victory."
Adding to the drama: two weeks earlier, the two Big Ten big men had battled in the 2008 conference championships, with Fox shutting out Bergman, 2-0.
By winning the national title, Fox became the second Northwestern wrestler to win an NCAA heavyweight title, following in the footsteps of Jack Riley, two-time unlimited champ in 1931 and 1932.
In responding to news that he was to be inducted into his alma mater's Athletics Hall of Fame, Fox said, "Northwestern provided more than a platform to excel in sports at the national collegiate level. It instilled, in my teammates and I, a culture of athletic and academic intensity that propels us to success in our lives today. For me, the biggest accomplishment is that current and future team members are able to draw strength from this legacy of achievement and continue to nourish this culture at NU wrestling."
"Dustin came to Northwestern knowing that he could make a difference and reach a level of success that few have achieved in our sport," Northwestern head coach Drew Pariano said. "Dustin played an instrumental role in our team finishing fourth in the NCAA tournament during the 2007 season. He bought into the system and that resulted in a National Championship during his senior season.
"He completed an outstanding career and we wish him well as he continues his professional career. Dustin is and will always be a true champion and ambassador for Northwestern Athletics."
Fox, along with four other former Wildcat sports stars, will be inducted during Hall of Fame weekend Feb. 7-8, 2014.
Watch the Fox-Bergman heavyweight title bout on YouTube.
Fan of the big men of college wrestling? For photos and info on Dustin Fox and other heavyweight champs after 2000, check out NCAA Heavyweight Champs 2 Yahoo group. (To learn more about the best big men from 1928-2000 -- including Northwestern's Jack Riley -- visit the original NCAA Heavyweight Champs Yahoo group.) And, check out this College Wrestling Examiner feature on what NCAA heavyweight champs since 2000 actually weigh.
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