Oklahoma State Cowboys Wrestling History!

Wrestling at the NCAA Division I level has never been more successful than it has been for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. All-American honors have been awarded to 475 members of the Oklahoma State wrestling program as of 2021-2022.


As far back as 1914–15, when A.M. Colville captained the first team at Oklahoma A&M, cowboy wrestling has existed. Texas defeated that team in the inaugural dual meet of the school’s history. Athletic director Edward C. Gallagher assumed control of the team the next year. In 1928, he led the nation’s first national champions. It wasn’t just his squad that won eight of the first 10 national titles; he was also the coach of those teams. His only stumbling block was Paul Keen’s Oklahoma team of 1936, which won the NCAA Championships for the first time. While coaching at the beginning of the tournament, he was able to guide 50 All-Americans and 26 individual winners to victory.

After Gallagher died in 1940, A&M had to find a new coach who could carry on the winning legacy that had been established by him. Art Griffith, the longstanding head coach of Central High School in Tulsa, was hired by the Cowboys to handle that duty. Griffith won 94 of his 100 matches over 15 years, including a 50-match streak at one point. He continued Gallagher’s legacy in Stillwater, where he amassed an impressive eight national championships in 13 years. In addition, he carried on two of Gallagher’s streaks.

The first was to extend Gallagher’s run of four straight championships to seven before falling to Cornell in 1947. Second, he went on a 76-match winning streak in dual meets before losing in 1951. Between 1941 and 1956, the wrestlers at Griffith won 27 individual championships and were named to the All-American team 64 times. After winning three straight NCAA Championships and a career record of 78-7-4, he retired at the pinnacle of his game.

After Griffith retired in 1956, one of his former wrestlers, Myron Roderick, was selected to succeed him right away. From 1954 through 1956, Roderick had a 42-2 record and was a three-time national champion while wrestling for Griffith. He became the new head coach following his return from the 1956 Olympics. With only one champion and three All-Americans to show for it, his debut squad was one of his least successful. Even so, he led two NCAA tournament-winning teams in 1957–58 and 1958–59, both of which he led to NCAA titles with four champions and 15 All-Americans between them.

The Oklahoma squad coached by Thomas Evans in 1960 was far superior to the one he coached in 1959. Roderick’s teams rebounded in 1961 and 1962, winning five individual championships and an additional 15 All-Americans. His coaching career ended in 1969 with seven team championships, 20 individual championships, and 79 All-Americans under his guidance.

Tommy Chesbro led the way from 1969 through 1984, when the twin triumph was maintained. This was also the point at which the NCAA title train came to an abrupt halt. Due in large part to the meteoric emergence of Iowa wrestling under Dan Gable during his tenure, he only managed to win one national championship. Only one championship was won by the Cowboys under Chesbro’s leadership. Still, Chesbro surpassed Gallagher as the school’s most successful coach. Before being eclipsed by the current coach, John Smith, his dual record of 227-26-0 was the best in program history.

As a result of NCAA sanctions and probation imposed on previous head coach Joe Seay, who had won two national championships and amassed a 114-18-2 record, Smith took over the Cowboy wrestling program in 1991. The Cowboys finished second at the Nationals in Smith’s first season, but his second season was ruined by his suspension.

The Pokes finished the regular season with a record of 4–7, earning them an automatic suspension from postseason play. After a year on probation, top wrestlers including four-time champion Pat Smith and current assistant coach Alan Fried returned to compete for the Cowboys in the following season. On its way to a national championship that year, OSU had a 13–1 record.

The OSU program, on the other hand, grew rather stagnant in the middle of the 1990s, at least in comparison to Cowboy standards. While individual wrestlers and the team continued to win Big Eight and Big 12 Conference championships, their performances at the National Championships were poor. Between 1995 and 2002, the Cowboys finished no higher than a third (once) and no lower than a second (once) (1998, 1999, 2001).

After a three-year absence, the Cowboys returned in 2002 with a 17–0 record, winning both the Big 12 and NCAA championships, as well as the league championship. OSU would go on to win four straight national titles from 2003 to 2006, re-establishing their hegemony in the sport of wrestling. During the 2002-2005 season, the Dallas Cowboys had a cumulative 55-2 record. OSU’s all-time winningest coach, Smith has 239 victories to his credit.

Noteworthy Alumni

Wrestling at Oklahoma State has been bolstered by several standouts over the years. Wrestler Yojiro Uetake, a native of Japan who now competes for Oklahoma State, is a shining example of this. The only other Cowboy wrestler to go unbeaten during his college career (58 wins, 0 defeats) is Uetake, who still holds that title today. Additionally, Uetake won a total of three individual Big 8 and national championships as a 130-pound OSU wrestler. The Japanese-born Uetake spent two years as an assistant coach for the Cowboys after graduating from Stillwater, and he now instructs wrestling at the same school where he once went in his own country.

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“Uetake was honored into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 2015,” the state newspaper reported. [3] Alex Dieringer is another important Cowboys wrestler. Many notable victories were achieved by Dieringer while he was a student at OSU. [4] He was a three-time NCAA champion, four-time All-American, and four-time Big 12 champion between 2013 and 2016. Dieringer was nominated for but didn’t win, the ESPY award for Male College Athlete of the Year. [4]. His 2016 Oklahoma State Male Athlete of the Year award was a consolation prize. He won a Dan Hodge Trophy in the same year and finished his college career with 133 victories and only four defeats. In his career since graduating from Oklahoma State, Dieringer has finished third in the Olympic Trials, the World Team Trials, and the United States open.

Big 12 Successes

The Big 12 championship tournament is recognized for Oklahoma State wrestling’s consistent success. OSU has won 17 of the tournament’s 23 trophies over the tournament’s existence. [5] At the Big 12 Wrestling Championships in March 2019, OSU earned their seventh consecutive team title, making this the longest winning streak in Big 12 wrestling history. [5] It was also the most consecutive conference tournament victory for OSU since the 1920s.

Current roster 2021-2022

Weight (Pounds) Name Year Rank
125 lbs. Trevor Mastrogiovanni So. 18
133 lbs. Daton Fix Rs So. 1
141 lbs. Carter Young Fr. 21
149 lbs. Kaden Gfeller Rs So. 4
157 lbs. Wyatt Sheets Rs So. 12
165 lbs. Travis Wittlake Rs Fr. 4
174 lbs. Dustin Plott So. 7
184 lbs. Dakota Geer Grad. 10
197 lbs. A.J. Ferrari So. 1
285 lbs. Luke Surber So. 26

Home Meets

The 13,611-seat Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater serves as the venue for home matches. An Oklahoma State wrestling legend, Edward C. Gallagher, is part of the inspiration for the arena’s name. Nearly half a century after the first remodeling of the structure, Gallagher-Iba became known as Iba Hall in honor of former Oklahoma State basketball coach Henry Iba.

Since its completion in 1938, the arena has been the site of Oklahoma State’s home wrestling matches. On February 3, 1939, during a wrestling match against Indiana, the arena was formally dedicated. A permanently reserved seat for Gallagher was unveiled next to a permanently reserved seat for Iba during the Bedlam wrestling dual on December 9, 2005.

Oklahoma State Cowboys Wrestling
Oklahoma State Cowboys Wrestling

The storied arena has long been a part of the OSU wrestling legend and history. It has a longstanding reputation as one of the nation’s most hostile arenas, earned throughout its first half-century of operation. An 8,300-strong crowd at the 1978 Big 8 wrestling finals roared so loudly that many of the arena’s lights went out.

Since joining the Pokes, Gallagher-Iba has witnessed several historic unbeaten streaks, including 34 straight years at home. The name “Gallagher’s House of Horrors” came about as a result of the Pokes’ home-field advantage and the rabid Cowboy fandom.

From 6,381 seats to 13,611 in 2000 and 2001, Gallagher-Iba had a large refurbishment project that included an extension of the stadium’s capacity. Wrestling crowds have failed to fill Gallagher Hall, even though attendance at basketball games has more than doubled since the expansion was completed. However, Stillwater’s crowds frequently soar when rivals such as the Iowa Hawkeyes, Minnesota Golden Gophers, and Bedlam adversary Oklahoma arrive in town.

They are the most notable of them. Wrestling at the University of Texas at Arlington has improved since the restoration project began, despite the chaotic atmosphere that existed before. New wrestling facilities and other training facilities have also been erected in the athletics complex for the benefit of all OSU student-athletes, among them the new wrestling facility.


The Bedlam Series was founded on the wrestling mat, despite the enormous popularity of football and hardwood sports. For this intrastate competition, the term “Bedlam” was coined because of a wrestling rivalry that developed over time. Gallagher Hall is where the name was first coined during an intense wrestling match in Stillwater, Oklahoma. According to legend, a newspaper reporter emerged from the building and exclaimed, “It’s bedlam in there!” to others.

In the wrestling series, which began in 1920, Oklahoma State had a seemingly insurmountable advantage. By 2022, the Cowboys have a 147-27-10 overall record versus Oklahoma. The Bedlam domination by Oklahoma State is considerably different from the typical one-sided advantage because Oklahoma is a national wrestling power in its way.

Oklahoma has won seven team national championships, whereas Oklahoma State has won a record 34 team national championships in its history. [6] Oklahoma State fans have always taken satisfaction in their team’s ability to dominate such a highly regarded adversary. To prevent Cowboy fans from dominating the environment, Oklahoma has moved its home duals from the Lloyd Noble Center to McCasland Field House in recent years.

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