June 17, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Russ Hellickson, Ohio State wrestling head coach from 1986-2006, will be inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame Sept. 26. Following the induction ceremony dinner, Hellickson will join 12 of his fellow Buckeyes for a public recognition at halftime of the football Buckeyes’ home game vs. Cincinnati Sept. 27 in Ohio Stadium.
Hellickson helped usher in a new era of wrestling at Ohio State. Hired in 1986 to take over a program that was in its 67th year, Hellickson produced three All-Americans, including NCAA champion Mark Coleman, in just his second season at the helm of the Buckeyes. In all, the two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year (1991 and 2002) mentored 41 All-Americans. Of the list of All-Americans who were coached by Hellickson, five earned the pinnacle of success by winning an NCAA title in their respective weight class, including two-time champions Kevin Randleman (1992 and 1993) and Tommy Rowlands (2002 and 2004). In 2004, Hellickson and the Buckeyes etched their way into the Ohio State records book when five All-Americans – J.D. Bergman, John Clark, Blake Kaplan, Jeff Ratliff and Tommy Rowlands – wrestled to a third-place finish at the NCAA championships. The Top 3 placing was a Buckeye all-time high and Ohio State’s five All-Americans in one season remains a Buckeye best. Throughout his 20-year Ohio State career, Hellickson coached seven wrestlers to 12 Big Ten titles. Additionally, Hellickson-led teams still hold the Ohio State record for most wins (20), consecutive wins (15) and most Big Ten wins (7).
A fierce competitor at Wisconsin and internationally, Hellickson 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 is 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.