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Oklahoma State wrestling alum Mike Jones to receive 2014 Gallagher Award

1980s Oklahoma State wrestler Mike Jones, 2014 Gallagher Award recipient
1980s Oklahoma State wrestler Mike Jones, 2014 Gallagher Award recipient
Oklahoma State wrestling

Mike Jones, Oklahoma State wrestler and assistant coach in the 1980s, has been named the recipient of the 2014 Gallagher Award, the Cowboy wrestling program announced Thursday.

The Gallagher Award, named in honor of the legendary Cowboy wrestling coach Ed Gallagher, is presented annually to an Oklahoma State alumnus who, according to the press statement, “exemplifies the spirit and leadership eminent in the tradition of champions.”

Jones will receive the award prior to the dual vs. American University on Sunday, March 2, at, appropriately enough, Gallagher-Iba Arena, named in part for the late mat coach.

Jones earned a letter as a wrestler as a senior in 1982. During his Cowboy wrestling career, Jones tallied 17 career wins competing at 126 pounds. He was teammates with five NCAA individual champs, including Olympic champion Kenny Monday, 1999 Gallagher recipient.

After graduation, Jones stayed in Stillwater, serving as a graduate assistant wrestling coach in 1983. He then launched an enduring career as a junior high and high school wrestling at several Oklahoma high schools, including Broken Arrow, which was named the No. 1 public school in the nation in 1998. Currently, Jones is in his fourth year as the head wrestling coach at Bixby High School in Bixby, Okla.

In addition, Jones spent eight years as a referee, officiating at three Oklahoma high school state championships.

“This year’s Gallagher Award winner, Mike Jones, is one of those guys who is so deserving of this award,” said Oklahoma State head wrestling coach John Smith, recipient of the Gallagher Award in 1997. “He’s spent more than 30 years in this sport and has been a great coach to many young people. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like him, and that tells you a lot about the person he is, his character, and how he views the sport. He’s made wrestling a lot better, especially in the state of Oklahoma.”

“I am humbled and honored to be chosen for this award,” Jones said. “Just to be mentioned with all these great OSU wrestlers is the greatest honor. Coach Gallagher has been called the ‘Thomas Edison of wrestling.’ He invented moves we still use today. To be thought of as a successful, innovative OSU alumni coach is the highest honor.”

“I was at OSU during a time when there were some legendary wrestlers,” Jones said. “Just to be in the same room with the likes of Lee Roy Smith, Clar Anderson, Kenny Monday, Mike Sheets and Ricky Stewart was a great experience. I look back on the trials and tribulations that we all went through and how those hard times molded me into a coach. I was coached by the legendary Tommy Chesbro while at OSU, and his equally awesome assistant, Paul Martin. I was a graduate assistant when we recruited the current legendary head coach John Smith. There are so many great memories from my days as an OSU wrestler.”

Presented since 1986, the Gallagher Award is named in honor of Edward Clark Gallagher, head wrestling coach at Oklahoma State from 1916-1940. Considered to be the father of modern college wrestling – despite never having wrestled – Gallagher used his engineering background to create up to 400 wrestling holds, along with positive reinforcement techniques to convince his wrestlers that they were unbeatable. With Gallagher at the helm, Oklahoma State crafted a 138-5-4 overall record, including 19 undefeated seasons, and eleven NCAA team titles. He coached 37 individual NCAA champs, averaging three titlewinners each year. In February, Oklahoma State celebrated the 75th anniversary of the dedication of the Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Gallagher Award recipients

  • 1986: Rex Peery
  • 1987: Frank Lewis

  • 1988: Myron Roderick

  • 1989: Tommy Chesbro

  • 1990: Joe McDaniel 

  • 1991: John W. Divine

  • 1996: Ray Murphy

  • 1997: John Smith

  • 1998: Grady Peninger

  • 1999: Kenny Monday

  • 2000: Pat Smith

  • 2001: Kendall Cross

  • 2002: Mike Sheets

  • 2003: Doug Blubaugh

  • 2004: Grover Rains

  • 2005: Bobby Douglas

  • 2006: Charles Hetrick

  • 2007: Fred Davis
  • 2008: Lee Roy Smith
  • 2009: Bobby Stites
  • 2010: Bill Harlow
  • 2011: Eddie Griffin
  • 2013: Jim Shields
  • 2014: Mike Jones

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