Three former Raiders to enter National Wrestling Hall of Fame
Three former Southern Oregon University athletes will be among the 2018 class of inductees into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame by the Oregon chapter on May 5.
Doug Samarron, John Speasl and Cleve Thompson will become three of the seven newest members of the Hall of Fame.
A native of Ashland, Samarron was a three-time regional wrestling champion and two-time All-American for the Raiders. As a junior, he helped Southern Oregon win the 1984 NAIA national championship.
He spent six years as an assistant wrestling coach at Oregon City High and 10 years as an assistant at rival West Linn High before being named head coach in 2001. He led the Lions to seven consecutive district championships and was named the 2004 Oregon coach of the year.
In 2002, he was a coach for the Oregon Cultural Exchange team that toured Belgium and coached the 2004 team that competed in Japan.
Speasl arrived at Southern Oregon after a state Greco-Roman championship at Lebanon High and two junior college tournament placements at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington.
He was a conference runner-up for the Raiders in 1971 before beginning a 38-year career in athletics at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay. He served as head wrestling coach for 13 years and was twice named conference coach of the year.
In 1982, he was the U.S. Junior Pan Am Games coach in Mexico City and two years later coached Oregon’s Cultural Exchange team that toured Japan.
Speasl served as the SWOCC athletic director for 25 years.
Thompson never wrestled for the Raiders. Instead he was an all-conference football player in 1969. But for the last 46 years, he has been a wrestling coach.
The Gold Beach product was the head coach at Glide for 13 years. His teams won eight district championships, and he was named five times as Sky-Em coach of the year.
After moving to the Portland area, Thompson has served as a coach for the Peninsula Wrestling Club since 1990. He has also been the head coach for 18 years of the Oregon Cadet National team and two years as coach of the Oregon Junior National team.
Joining Samarron, Speasl and Thompson in the 2018 lifetime service induction will be Milo Meskel, Portland referee; Miles Hancock, La Grande coach; and Bob Bishop, Willamina coach.
Being recognized posthumously is Dr. Darrel Kauffman, Lebanon and Corvallis, as an Outstanding American.
The event will be held at the Tigard Embassy Suites Hotel on May 5. Tickets are available on-line at TicketLeap.