Perry Wrestling Monument Park
One of the most recognized and celebrated names in the history of wrestling, Hodge had his beginnings in Perry where he was an undefeated state champion in 1951. Just one year removed from high school, Hodge competed in the 1952 Olympics. In 1956, Hodge returned to the Olympics and was leading by a large margin in the finals when a controversial fall was called against him, resulting in the silver medal. Danny compiled an unparalleled record at the University of Oklahoma as he finished with an unblemished 46-0 record with 36 falls. He pinned 24 consecutive opponents and was never taken down during his college career!
Hodge was a three-time national champion, pinning his opponent in all three finals and was named the Outstanding Wrestler at the National Tournament two times. Hodge is the only wrestler to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated (April, 1957). In 1958, Hodge won the Golden Gloves championship in boxing, becoming the first athlete to win national championships in both wresting and boxing. Hodge was inducted in the Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame 1964 and inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 1994. In 1976, Danny was inducted in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a charter member. In 1998, the Amateur Wrestling News named Danny to their all-time best amateur wrestling team prior to 1958.
The Dan Hodge Trophy, wrestling's equivalent to the Heisman Trophy, is presented to the nation's best college wrestler each year.
Etched in rock as strong as the wrestling program itself, Perry Wrestling Monument Park, located in Downtown Perry, will forever reflect the pride, passion and success Perry has found in the great sport of wrestling.
FACTS ABOUT PERRY WRESTLING
Located in Perry, Noble County, Oklahoma, USA - The Perry High School Maroons have amassed one of the greatest wrestling records in America.
The late John Divine was not Perry's first wrestling coach, however his mark on the program is indelible. Beginning in 1931, Divine coached Perry for 30 seasons and considered the father of the sport. And for his efforts, the home gymnasium of Perry's varsity wrestling team is named in his honor. He coached four wrestler who later became Perry coaches themselves, winning a combined 20 state championships. Yes, Coach John Divine MADE Perry wrestling a lifestyle.
As such, Maroon wrestling is a power unlike any in America when it comes to longevity and winning. It's a place where every varsity wrestler over the past 55 years has been part of at least one state championship team. It's a place that has crowned 162 individual state champions, 293 other state placers and averaged 8.4 state qualifiers since 1942. No high school athletic program in the State of Oklahoma, regardless of size, can equal Perry's wrestling records.
With 40 team championships, Perry is listed in the record books of the National Federation of High School Sports as having won more state wrestling titles than any other team in the nation.
In addition to the 40 state championships, the Maroons have won 16 Dual State championships and four Academic State titles for a total of 60 State Championships!
Perry has crowned 162 individual state champions which is 3rd most in the nation
The Maroons have won 923 duals which is 4th best in the nation
Former Perry wrestlers made up half of the starting line-up of the University of Oklahoma's 1957 national championship team, including national champion Danny Hodge and All-Americans Leonard Shelton, Rex Edgar and Gordon Roesler.
Since 1961, Perry has never gone more than two years without winning a state wrestling championship.
In the past 64 years, the Maroons have finished first or second at state 53 times.
John St. Clair claimed Perry's first individual state title in 1942. Tulsa bank executive Wade Edmundson earned the 50th state title in 1969. Scott Chenoweth, who went on to become the schools winningest wrestling coach, was Perry's 100th state champion.
Perry has crowned three four-time state champions and nine three-time champions.
In 1973, the Maroons had one of the greatest teams in Oklahoma sports high school history when they crowned seven state champions out of twelve weight classes.
Jack VanBebber was severely injured at age six after being thrown from a wagon and run over by the metal-rimmed wagon wheels. Doctors said he would never be able to do strenuous work and could possibly be crippled for life. He overcame these injuries and other hardships to become one of the most accomplished wrestlers in the history of amateur wrestling.
Following a stellar wrestling career at Perry High School, VanBebber continued his wrestling career at Oklahoma A&M. Attending school during the Great Depression, Jack was forced to work numerous jobs while attending classes and wrestling. That did not stop him from going undefeated, while winning three NCAA championships and four AAU titles during his time in school.
Jack VanBebber was crowned Olympic champion in the 1932 Olympics, but once again, it didn’t come easy. Jack had advanced to the finals, but due to an unknown schedule change, he was forced to run to the arena. Fortunately, he caught a ride for part of the trip; arriving just minutes before his match. This scare did not keep Jack from defeating a past Olympic champion to win the Olympic gold medal!
In 1950, VanBebber was selected as one of the 10 most outstanding amateur athletes in the Western Hemisphere for the first half of the 20th Century. In 1976, Jack was inducted as a charter member into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. In 1988, VanBebber was named to the all-time best amateur wrestling team by Amateur Wrestling News and in 2008; he was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
Jim Franklin sculpted both of the larger than life wrestler statues, Danny Hodge and Jack Vanbebber.
Website designed and managed by Artist Rahael Maxwell