Lake in the Hills, Il- Please enjoy some great memories from last year. Merry Christmas!!!
Lake in the Hills, Il- Please enjoy some great memories from last year. Merry Christmas!!!
Lake in the Hills, IL- ISI’s Jim Herff suggested we do a feature on local wrestling and football great Rich Powers. Little did we know that not only was Rich a great interview but he is the Kevin Bacon of USA wrestling. Much like Six Degrees of Bacon, we reveal our own Six Degrees of Rich Powers, a family wrestling game.
We will get Rich’s insight on John Derango, Steve Patton, Tim Haack, Don Penza, Mike Garvey, Jim Patton, Mark Schultz, Dave Schultz, John DuPont and many more.
1986-87 was a great year at Marian Central Catholic HS for Rich. He followed up his 1985-86 IHSA wrestling championship at 167 pounds with a repeat performance. Powers and his fellow Hurricanes went 12-2 and also won the 2A IHSA football crown. It was pleasure meeting Rich, enjoy!
Click here to listen to Panther and Hurricane wrestling great Rich Powers:
Rich Powers finished his Panther wrestling career tied for the most wins in school history with 134 and was a three-time NCAA Division I All-American. Powers, a native of Harvard, Ill., put together a career mark of 134-25-1 from 1988 through 1992. Powers also notched 54 career falls to rank third on UNI’s all-time pins list – trailing only Kirk Myers (61) and Justin Greenlee (57). In his freshman season, he earned a spot on the Amateur Wrestling News’ Freshman All-America team. Powers went 25-9-1 in the 1988-89 season, which included seven wins by fall and five by technical fall. He won his first NCAA West Regional title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament as the No. 11 seed in the 177-pound weight class. Powers earned his first All-America honor as a sophomore with a fifth-place finish in the 177-pound bracket. Powers entered the 1990 NCAA Championships as the No. 6 seed in College Park, Md. He won his first match but dropped his second before righting the ship and producing four straight wins to clinch his first All-America honor. He was ranked in the top-10 throughout the entire season. He notched a team-best 18 pins, which is the fourth-highest single-season total in program history. Powers came back in 1991 as a junior with an overall mark of 44-4 and took fourth place in the NCAA’s 177-pound weight class. His 44 wins are tied for the second-most in a single-season in UNI’s history. He won his third consecutive NCAA West Regional title and was named the regional’s Outstanding Wrestler. Powers entered the 1991 NCAA Championship meet seeded No. 2 in his weight class in Iowa City. Powers would reach the semifinals after winning his first four matches of the tournament. Powers defeated Iowa State’s Matt Johnson in the NWCA All-Star Meet, 4-2. Powers spent the first half of his junior season ranked No. 1 in the nation at 177 pounds. Powers completed his senior season with a mark of 29-4 and another fifth-place tally in the 177-pound bracket. Powers entered the 1992 NCAA Championship in Oklahoma City, Okla., seeded No. 1. Powers again reached the national semifinals before dropping a decision. Powers fought his way back in the back draw and notched a fall in 1:33 in his final collegiate match against No. 10-seeded Steve Williams (North Carolina State) in the fifth-place match. Powers is one of nine UNI wrestlers to be a three-time NCAA Division I All-American. He won his fourth consecutive NCAA West Regional title, and was named the Outstanding Wrestler for the second straight year. He recorded 19 falls as a senior to rank as the third-highest single-season total in UNI history. *
* Courtesy of UNI Panther Athletics
Carol Stream, IL- This post will finish the GoldDotNation Trilogy. We have learned insights from some good stories told by Hall of Fame Coach Bob Fulk and listened to living legend Mark Hahn tell us his perspective. Now to tie this nice story up with a big gold bow, I’ve sat with the unofficial Glenbard North GoldDotNation wrestling history guru, Tony LiFonti, to bring us to today. We have three audio clips below. It makes for very good listening!
The wrestlers that graced the halls of the Carol Stream high school include Tony Ramos, Joe Gomez, Joey & Johnny Gosinski and Jon Maralejo (all five were 4-time DuPage Valley Conference champions). Fulk and Hahn have coached twenty one IHSA state champions.
Assistant Coaches: JIM CONSIDINE, KENT GARRETT and JEFF CHERRY
Currently, Kent Garrett is the only one left on the active staff and currently the HC for the JVII level. Jim Considine works for Motorola and, once they moved into the city, the commute is too much and he would never make practice/s on time. Jim started coaching at North in 1992. Jeff Cherry has taken the role of Winter Activities Advisor. Garrett started teaching and coaching at North in 1987-1988; he taught special education and he would retire teaching Driver’s Education. He has coached JV1 and freshman and, as I stated, he is currently the HC for the JV2 level. Jeff Cherry began in 1987-1988 as well, teaching physical education and last year was his final year coaching; however, he still has two more years before he can retire.
Assistant Coach: CHRIS EDWARDS
Chris was hired at Glenbard North in 1997 and joined the coaching staff that season. He teaches mathematics and is currently the JVI HC, he has also coached freshman wrestling.
Assistant Coach: TONY LIFONTI
Hired at North in 1999 and volunteered his first four years before being HC for JVII level. Since 2006, HC freshman level. Teaches English.
Assistant Coach: JOE GOMEZ
Joe was a 2004 graduate of North and began coaching on staff in 2010.
NOT PICTURED but very valuable coaches – the entire staff: Tom Gudella, Pat Harris, Tony Savegnago, Eric Wetzel, Jeff Edwards and Geno Capezio.
Carol Stream, IL- Part of one of our new series #EpicProgram was an introduction to Glenbard North High School and the beginning of the GoldDotNation. The Panther wrestling program started by Bob Fulk and continued with perfection by Mark Hahn is quite unique.
Part two of #EpicProgram is very simple: listen to Coach Hahn. I was very blessed to have a great interview with the Hall of Fame head coach who is entering his final year at GBN. Hahn tells it like no one else can. Here we go…
Please click here to watch Austin Gomez’s amazing pin:
Carol Stream, IL- I have learned that some stories are harder to finish than others. I can’t explain why that is but it happens to me. This story on Glenbard North High School wrestling, GoldDotNation, Bob Fulk and Mark Hahn is one of them. This #EpicProgram is so crazy good that it intimidates anyone trying to put it into words. Well, this is my humble effort.
Our goal is to honor current GBN wrestling head coach Mark Hahn on his historic final season at the helm of the Panthers storied program. But to start we have to travel to the quiet farming community of Moweaqua, Illinois. South of Decatur, located firmly in the “Farming Belt”, this is where ‘The Saga of GoldDotNation’ began with legend-to-be Robert Fulk.
A young man in 1950, Fulk, was part of the twenty one member graduating class of Moweaqua High School. A three sport athlete that oddly didn’t include wrestling (basketball, track and football), Fulk found mentors in coach Bob Oliver and Harold Anderson. After high school graduation, Fulk headed to Charleston, Illinois to continue his education and athletic career at Eastern Illinois University. As a Panther, Fulk would become an All-American in both wresting and football. From there on to semi-pro football playing for the Joliet Panthers. Glenbard North, Eastern Illinois and now Joliet. Panthers all!
This is where the future began to come more into focus for Fulk. A key part of his life would begin with the marriage to Janet. His lifelong partner, Janet would have more influence on what would eventually would become “The Life of Bob Fulk” than anyone else.
From EIU, the Fulk’s would begin a journey that would take them to Urbana HS, Kankakee HS and finally Proviso West HS. Football was Fulks first love, from playing to coaching, this is where he fine tuned his skills that would be so helpful in the future.
It was at Proviso West HS that the Fulk’s had a major decision awaiting them. Bob had an opportunity to finally become a wrestling head coach at the new high school in Carol Stream, Glenbard North HS. His bosses at Proviso were less than thrilled about losing their young and newly hired football coach. But fate is fickle and the Fulk’s headed westward to GBN to start anew. GoldDotNation was soon to be born.
Now in 1968 most people had no idea where Carol Stream was located. Fulk referred to it as “out in the cornfields”, a school referees had a hard time finding. But this is where Fulk was determined to move the wrestling program (and his young family) from a minor sport into a full blown powerhouse.
Fulk tells a good story about how he liked to rock the boat to get even treatment for his wrestlers. In this case (Coach Fulk has MANY great anecdotes) football cleats and basketball sneakers were supplied for no cost to the Panther players. Now Fulk wanted to know where his wrestling shoes were. He pressed the issue all the way to the top and finally received 50 pairs of free shoes for his team. The kicker was that from the point onward there would be NO free footwear for any GBN athletes. Fulk was a rebel and always fought hard for his players. Fair is fair!
While at a coaching clinic in Seattle, Washington, Fulk hatched the idea for what would eventually become GoldDotNation. During a motivational seminar, Fulk began to think of a way to make the Panther wrestling program ‘special’. This was in 1982 when Fulk and his team captain Bob Lacefield Memory Lane with Bob Lacefield came up with the Gold Dot idea. Originally the Secret Society of Gold Dot, it became somewhat controversial due to rumors and innuendos. Some were taken aback by these crazy Gold Dots appearing all over school and even the town. From tee shirts and posters to watches and even fingernails, GoldDotNation was taking on a life of its own.
It “drove people crazy” because they didn’t understand what the GoldDot was all about according to Fulk. The wrestling team would meet in Fulk’s basement every year. Those gatherings were fun, but the Coach had many school meetings where he had to defend his program from the baseless “Cultist” charges. Hey, this was the 1980’s! Things eventually calmed down and the GoldDotNation had been established and was to become a national trademark for Wrestling Excellence and Tradition.
Coach Fulk had known Mark Hahn since Hahn participated in a 5th and 6th grade youth wresting program that Fulk ran. One of the interesting similarities between Fulk and Hahn is that they both hailed from farming families. In fact, GBN was built on land purchased from Mark Hahn’s parents. Hahn wrestled for Fulk before heading off to the College of DuPage and what is now Illinois Benedictine University. With his teaching degree, Hahn headed back to GBN to find a job.
Now Hahn was not a great wrestler for Fulk and GoldDotNation but was a “tough ass and one tough kid” according to his future coaching mentor. Title 9 became the law of the land at this time so getting a teaching/coaching gig was somewhat difficult but Hahn eventually was hired as a full time substitute.
Now we are in the early ’90s and Fulk is thinking very hard about retiring. The tragic loss of his son was a blow that buckled the knees of this hardworking father and coach. Hahn didn’t feel he had enough experience to apply for the head coaching job. Replacing Fulks was hard for Hahn to envision. Fulk felt Hahn was “laid back about going for the job” but eventually talked into going for it.
The rest, as they say is history, Hahn has done “one hell of a job” as the Panthers head coach according to Fulk. Hahn was a “super athlete and came from a great family”, Fulk told me. He is so proud to see where Hahn has taken the GoldDotNation wrestling program and is sad to see Hahn call it quits after this season.