The Dave Schultz Wrestling Club national program to cease at the end of the 2004-05 season
Gary Abbott/USA Wrestling
Nancy Schultz, the founder and President of the Dave Schultz Wrestling Foundation, has announced that the Senior-level national program of the Dave Schultz Wrestling Club will not continue after the end of the 2004-05 USA Wrestling international season.
This popular and successful club was served the wrestling community for a full decade, providing opportunities for talented and motivated wrestlers to achieve their dreams. The club was created in 1996 in memory of the late Dave Schultz, a World and Olympic champion wrestler and ambassador of goodwill within international wrestling.
The Dave Schultz WC has supported wrestlers in men's freestyle, men's Greco-Roman and women's freestyle wrestling, both on the Senior level as well as within USA Wrestling age-group programs. Athletes from the Dave Schultz WC have won World and Olympic medals for the United States, and the club has won national team titles and honors on many levels.
The decision to cease operation of the club's Senior-level nation teams was made by Nancy Schultz for personal and family reasons. She also recognizes that the expansion of opportunities for wrestlers during the last decade will allow the sport to continue to thrive even without the Dave Schultz WC involved.
"Wrestling in the U.S. today is stronger and move vital than I have ever seen," said Nancy Schultz. "There are more clubs and support for our national teams than at any other point in my lifetime. It is with this knowledge that I am choosing to close the doors of the Dave Schultz Wrestling Foundation. I have poured my heart and soul into this program, but now, for many personal reasons, it is time for me to turn my attention back to my family. They need my help and support right now."
The Dave Schultz WC was formed for on a short-term basis in 1996, after the murder of wrestling legend Dave Schultz, to provide support and opportunity for many of Dave's wrestling teammates and friends to continue competing that year. The Dave Schultz WC continued for a full decade, supported by corporate and private donors and fundraising activities.
Nancy wishes to thank USA Wrestling and all of the many athletes, coaches, fans and staff that have worked over the many years to make the Schultz Club a success.
"I am proud of the legacy of the Dave Schultz Wrestling Foundation," said Nancy Schultz. "In March of 1996, my goal was to sponsor the 20 athletes left behind in the wake of the tragedy at Foxcatcher. My goal was to find support for six months for the athletes to have funding, coaches, facilities and equipment to make it to the Olympic Trials for the Atlanta Olympic Games. To say the very least, we surpassed our six-month projection."
Members of the Dave Schultz WC were notified in January about the decision to cease the Senior-level national program. Since then, the staff at the Dave Schultz Wrestling Foundation has worked closely with the athletes and coaches to find other clubs and sources of support for them to continue their wrestling careers. A majority of the active Senior-level athletes have found new clubs and support systems going into the U.S. National Wrestling Championships in Las Vegas, Nev. next week
Nancy Schultz has indicated that the affiliate sites of the Dave Schultz WC, which are located at a number of college campuses around the nation, will continue to use the Dave Schultz WC branding for their club programs. She also said that the foundation will continue to be involved in special events and projects in the future. However, the national program which supported Senior-level athletes under the Dave Schultz WC banner will end this year.
She also indicated that the Dave Schultz Memorial International Tournament, a major international wrestling competition held in Colorado Springs, Colo. each year, would continue to be hosted by USA Wrestling and to celebrate Dave Schultz' life.
"I believe we filled a vital role in wrestling support and served as ambassadors to other nations. Our wrestlers have competed with pride and dignity. We functioned not only as a club but as a family helping each other," said Schultz.
In 1996, Dave Schultz WC member Kurt Angle won the gold medal at 100 kg/220 lbs. in men's freestyle wrestling at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga. At the 2000 Olympic Games, Dave Schultz WC member Brandon Slay won the gold medal at 76 kg/167.5 pounds in men's freestyle wrestling in Sydney, Australia.
At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, Dave Schultz WC member Patricia Miranda won the bronze medal at 48 kg/105.5 pounds in women 's freestyle wrestling. It was the first Olympic medal ever awarded to a woman from any nation in history, as women's wrestling was making its Olympic debut in Athens.
In 1999, Dave Schultz WC member Stephen Neal won the gold medal at 130 kg/286 lbs. in men's freestyle wrestling at the World Championships in Ankara, Turkey.
Other Dave Schultz WC athletes to compete in the Olympic Games during the club's decade of excellence were Cary Kolat (men's freestyle) and Heath Sims (men's Greco-Roman) at the 2000 Olympic Games, and Tela O'Donnell (women's freestyle) at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
"The wrestling world has been my family for over 25 years," said Nancy Schultz. "The day I met Dave Schultz was the day I joined the all inclusive wrestling community. I was welcomed with open arms, traveled, attended competitions, helped where it was needed and raised my family within wrestling. When Dave Schultz was killed in 1996, it was the wrestling community that stood by my side, gave me the strength and the resolve to fight the legal battles and supported my children in a time of extreme sadness. It was that support and devotion that gave me the strength to build the Dave Schultz Wrestling Foundation. I wanted to give back to this community which has given me so much."
"The wrestling family is my family and I will never leave it. I will always be involved in wrestling, and will support the sport and USA Wrestling," said Schultz.