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Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame to welcome ex-wrestling coach Russ Hellickson

Russ Hellickson as freestyle wrestler and as Ohio State head wrestling coach
Russ Hellickson as freestyle wrestler and as Ohio State head wrestling coach
Photo (left) courtesy of University of Wisconsin; right photo courtesy of Ohio State, both with permission

Russ Hellickson, Buckeye head wrestling coach for two decades, is among the individuals to be welcomed into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame, the Columbus-based Big Ten school announced Thursday.

A native of Stoughton, Wis., Russell Owen Hellickson took the helm of the Ohio State wrestling program in 1986. During his 20 seasons as head coach, Hellickson guided five wrestlers to a total of seven NCAA Division I titles: Mark Coleman (190-pound champ in 1988), Kevin Randleman (177 pound champ, 1992 and 1993), Rex Holman (190 lbs., 1993), Mitch Clark (177 lbs., 1998) and Tommy Rowlands (heavyweight, 2002 and 2004). In addition, 41 Buckeyes earned NCAA All-American honors during Hellickson’s tenure, while seven Buckeyes earned a dozen Big Ten individual titles. For his accomplishments, Hellickson was named Big Ten Coach of the Year twice, in 1991 and 2002.

Prior to coming to Ohio State, Hellickson coached at his college alma mater, University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he served as assistant coach for a dozen years before being named head coach of the Badgers in 1983, where was at the helm for four seasons.

As a wrestler at Wisconsin, Hellickson was a two-time Big Ten finalist (heavyweight in 1969, 190 pounds in 1970) and two-time NCAA qualifier who really made his presence felt in international freestyle competition. He won 10 national freestyle titles for Team USA, three Pan American Games Gold Medals (1971, 1975, 1979) and a silver medal (1979) and bronze medal (1971) at the World Championships. At the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Hellickson was a silver medalist for the U.S. Olympic Freestyle Team and was named captain of the U.S. squad for the 1980 Games in Moscow.

Hellickson becomes the 14th inductee into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame to have a wrestling background. Other wrestling honorees of recent years include Rowlands (2013), Holman (2012), Clark (2011), Randleman (2004) and Adam DiSabato (2006).

The Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame is just the latest honor for Hellickson. The former Buckeye coach is already a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Wisconsin Wrestling Hall of Fame, University of Wisconsin Hall of Fame and Midlands Open Hall of Fame.

In addition to Hellickson, other members of the Ohio State Class of 2014 to be formally inducted Sept. 26 are Tessa Bonhomme (women's hockey), Nancy Darsch (women's basketball coach), Boaz Ellis (fencing), Rosalind Goodwin (women's track and field), Ralph Guarasci (men's golf), Becky Kim (synchronized swimming), Tami Smith (women's track and field), Bob Vogel (football), Ralph Wolf (football) and Jeremy Wurtzman (men's tennis).

The Athletics Hall of Fame dinner will be held in the Archie M. Griffin Ballroom at the Ohio Union on September 26. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with appetizers and cocktails, followed by dinner an hour later.

Individual tickets are $75 and tables for eight are $800. Tickets go on sale July 1 and registration information will be available on later in June.

Ohio State's Athletics Hall of Fame was created in 1977. It has inducted 277 men through 2014. Women first began being inducted in 1993, and through 2013 they had 106 members added to the elite group.

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