USA Wrestling’s Training Program at Northern Michigan University
by Gary Abott
Dennis Hall of Stevens Points, Wis. has been named the head coach for USA Wrestling’s Greco-Roman program at the U.S. Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University.
Hall was one of the greatest Greco-Roman wrestlers in U.S. history, with three career Olympic and World medals. He was a 1995 World champion, only the second American at that time to win a Greco-Roman World title. Hall captured a silver medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga., and won a World bronze medal in 1994.
“Dennis Hall brought to the mat a fierce competitive spirit,” said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender. “We are confident he will bring that same spirit to our program at Northern Michigan University, as we strive to continue as one of the most powerful Greco-Roman programs in the world.”
Hall competed on three U.S. Olympic teams in Greco-Roman. In addition to the silver medal he won in 1996, Hall was eighth in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain and also competed in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
“What Dennis brings to our team is a tremendous passion for Greco-Roman wrestling,” said National Greco-Roman Coach Steve Fraser. “He brings vast experience as a World champion, Olympic silver medalist and World bronze medalist. Some may argue that he is the most decorated Greco-Roman wrestler in our history. He is a great example of what hard work and dedication is all about. I expect him to be a great leader for the young men in the USOEC program at Northern Michigan University.”
He qualified for his first U.S. World Team in 1990 at the age of 19 and made a total of 10 U.S. World or Olympic teams. Hall also won the Pan American Games in 1995 and 1999.
Hall was a U.S. Nationals champion for 10 straight years (1992-2001), an amazing streak of consistency. Hall was also second in the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team Trials and qualified for the U.S. Greco-Roman national team 15 times.
He becomes the third coach in the history of the USOEC Greco-Roman team since its inception, following Gordy Morgan and Ivan Ivanov as head coaches for the program. The USOEC program has produced numerous champion athletes for the United States on both the age-group and Senior levels.
“My goal for this job is to get guys really excited about Greco-Roman wrestling, and to teach them to beat the best wrestlers in the world by working hard,” said Hall. “I believe we can attain that goal. I seek to produce athletes who can win medals at the University and Junior World Championships and guys who can make U.S. Senior-level World Teams.”
Hall is originally from Hartford, Wis., where he won two state high school titles and was a three-time Junior Nationals Greco-Roman champion. He attended the Univ. of Wisconsin for one year, then decided to focus full-time on his Greco-Roman career.
Since 2000, Hall has owned World Gold Wrestling, LLC, which provides young athletes with quality coaching through wrestling camps and clubs. Among the young wrestlers he has mentored are Ben Provisor and Jesse Thielke, who were U.S. Junior Greco-Roman World Team members and have won numerous age-group national titles. He has also organized the Dennis Hall Summer Team Duals event each year.
He was also an assistant wrestling coach for the Univ. of Wisconsin-Stevens Point from 2001-2003. During his time there, the team finished third in the Div. III National Championships. For the last two years, he has been the head wrestling coach at Stevens Point High School, where he has produced state placewinners and qualifiers.
Hall and his wife Chrissy have four children: Tyler (13), Brandon (7), Jake (3) and Alyssa (2).
“It is huge to get guys who want to be Greco-Roman wrestlers full-time out of high school,” said Hall. “We will be able to win World medals at a younger age because of this program. Coaching Greco-Roman full-time and coaching at this level is exciting to me. I will have a hand in getting athletes to Northern Michigan University who have the ability to become future World and Olympic champions.”
The assistant Greco-Roman coach position at the U.S. Olympic Education Center remains open. An announcement on the individual hired for that position is expected in the near future.