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Wrestling and Coaching Legend Andy Rein to be Enshrined in National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Andy Rein as a freshman wrestler at the Wisconsin Wrestling State Championship tournament with his Stoughton (WI) High School coaches, Vern Pieper and John Zenner.

By Tim Gardner

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame has announced that the Class of 2022 is Distinguished Members Clarissa Chun, Sara McMann, Andy Rein and Jake Varner, Meritorious Official Tom Clark (posthumously), Order of Merit Recipient Mike Moyer, and Medal of Courage recipient Melissa Simmons.

The famous Rein, a former collegiate wrestler and coach, has North Carolina High Country ties as he and his wife, Susy, make their home in the Crooked Creek section of Banner Elk in Avery County.

The Hall of Fame Board of Governors approved the selections and the induction ceremony will be held at the 45th Honors Weekend on June 3-4, 2022 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

A distinguished Hall of Fame Member can be a wrestler who has achieved extraordinary success in national and/or international competition; a coach who has demonstrated great leadership in the profession and who has compiled an outstanding record; or a contributor whose long-term activities have substantially enhanced the development and advancement of the sport. Wrestlers must have been retired from active competition for a period of five years to be eligible for consideration as a Distinguished Member.

“Following an extensive screening and selection process, I am excited to announce such a notable and deserving group of honorees for 2022,” said Lee Roy Smith, Executive Director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. “We are fortunate to be able to spotlight these inductees who have transcended our sport’s heritage over the past 40 years. It is also a class that represents the positive transformational impact females are realizing in wrestling, with two female Distinguished Members and our first female Medal of Courage recipient.”

Rein said he is elated about being a National Wrestling Hall of Fame enshrinee.  “It’s a tremendous milestone of which I’m most proud,” he declared. “I owe a lot of people deep appreciation for their part in my journey to this Hall of Fame–especially my family, athletes I’ve coached, my staff members, my teammates who I wrestled alongside, administrators I’ve worked for, my coaches, and opponents I competed against as a wrestler and as a coach. To have the opportunity to be in a Hall of Fame with such other outstanding contributors to wrestling is a thrill.”

Rein becomes the 10th and final member of the 1984 United States Olympic freestyle team to be honored as a Distinguished Member, making it the only Olympic team to have every team member recognized. Other team members were Ed Banach (1993), Lou Banach (1994), Bruce Baumgartner (2002), Barry Davis (2007), Joe Gonzales (2015), Randy Lewis (1998), Dave Schultz (1997), Mark Schultz (1995), and Bobby Weaver (2008). It is the only Olympic team where every member has been recognized as a Distinguished Member. Every member of the coaching staff from 1984 is also a Distinguished Member with head coach Dan Gable (1980) and assistant coaches Bobby Douglas (1987), Stan Dziedzic (1996), J Robinson (2005) and Bill Weick (2007).

“I cannot express how truly honored I am to be selected as a distinguished member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame,” Rein added. “I am grateful for many things: Family and the opportunity to grow up on a farm in Wisconsin and learn the value of hard work; coaches and teammates striving every day to improve and to become the best at something; and opponents for the challenges, the wins and losses and lessons learned.”

Olympic Silver Medalist Andy Rein on award stand:  Reid’s finals match in the 1984 Olympics was scored 5-5. Andy received the silver medal, while South Korean wrestler You in Tak was awarded the gold, based on technical criteria.

A Stoughton, Wisconsin native, Rein was a silver medalist at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles after being an alternate for the 1980 Olympics. He captured a gold medal at the prestigious Tbilisi (Soviet Union) International Tournament in 1983 and was a silver medalist at the Super Champion Title Tournament in Tokyo, Japan in 1985. The four-time National Freestyle champion won a gold medal at the Pan American Championships in 1979 while finishing fourth at the world championships in 1981 and earning a silver medal at the World Cup in 1982. He was an NCAA champion and two-time finalist for the University of Wisconsin, capturing the national title at 150 pounds in 1980. He compiled a phenomenal record of 40 wins and 0 losses during that season.

Rein was a three-time All-American and a two-time Big Ten Conference individual champion.  He also won three Midlands Tournament titles and was a two-time East-West All-Star Meet champion.

Rein had a stellar collegiate career wrestling record of 119-13-1.

Before his collegiate career, Rein was a two-time Wisconsin high school state champion for Stoughton High School while also capturing state and national AAU titles in Greco-Roman and freestyle.

Rein also was head coach for the University of Wisconsin wrestling program for seven seasons, leading the Badgers to Top 15 finishes at the NCAA Division I Championships six times. Rein coached three national champions and 14 All-Americans while compiling a career coaching record of 81-41-3. He was NCAA Rookie Coach of the Year in 1987 and Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year in 1992.

He was a National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Team coach in 1993 and was a member of USA Wrestling’s national freestyle coaching staff.

Also highly-impressive are all his other sports accomplishments, which include: University of Wisconsin Athlete of the Century; Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame induction (2002); Area Sportsperson of the Year Award honoree in 1976 and 1980 from the Madison, Wisconsin Sports Hall of Fame; Midlands Hall of Fame induction; George Martin Wrestling Hall of Fame induction; and University of Wisconsin Badger Legend Award recipient.

“Wrestling provided me a platform to grow as an individual and work towards excellence in something, Rein noted. “It allowed me to build self-awareness, truly understand who I was as a person – my strengths and weaknesses, my behaviors, habits, commitments and how to bounce back from failure. It was a great journey and I am thankful to have had the opportunities wrestling presented me.”

Rein has been married to Susy for 38 years.  They have a daughter, Jenna, and a son, Brady.  Jenna is married to Kit Zipf. Andy and Susy Rein have one grandchild (boy), Willson Brady Rein, born in 2020 to Brady and his wife, Hannah.

Andy Rein currently serves as a Strategic Accounts Manager at SKF USA, Inc. SKF USA is a subsidiary of Swedish ball bearing giant AB SKF and a global supplier of bearings, seals, lubricants, linear motion components, and condition monitoring systems. It also specializes in related services, from repair and rebuilding to consulting, logistics and training. Its repair stations also provide bearing inspection, repair and overhaul services. With hundreds of manufacturing, sales, and authorized distribution locations across the United States, SKF USA’s offerings are geared at a wide range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, construction, machine tooling and alternative energy.

-All photos provided by Andy Rein-

Wedding photo: (Left-to-Right): Andy Rein with his wife, Susy, their daughter, Jenna Zipf, his and Susy’s son-in-law, Kit Zipf, their daughter-in-law, Hannah Rein, and his and Susy’s son, Brady Rein.
Andy Rein with dog: Andy can often be seen in downtown Banner Elk with his dog, Boomer (a red Golden-doodle).
Hikers with backpacks: Another goal for Andy Rein to conquer is to through hike the Appalachian Trail. He and his hiking buddies do a multi-day mountain trail hike annually (rain or shine). (L-R) Bernie Holicky, Mike Chirnside, Cliff Wright and Andy Rein.
Andy and Susy met at the University of Wisconsin when Susy became a wrestling cheerleader for the Badgers, and Andy judged the cheerleading tryouts. Their daughter, Jenna, became Cheerleading Captain at The Ohio State University 27 years later. (L-R) Susy, Jenna and Andy Rein.
Andy Rein with his daughter Jenna, the Cheerleading Captain for The Ohio State University Buckeyes.
The University of Wisconsin’s Andy Rein wrestles Scott Bliss of the University of Oregon in the 1980 NCAA Championship finals.  Rein won the match and the NCAA title, capping a record-setting and perfect season of 40 wins and 0 losses.
Andy Rein, Tbilisi Champion of Champions 1983: Andy won the gold medal and the Champion of Champions cape at the prestigious Tbilisi Tournament in Tbilisi, Georgia, Soviet Union in 1983. He defeated many Russians including the defending world and Olympic champion. Rein was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler and was awarded the cape, which is a black yak fur burka. The cape and Rein’s gold medal are on display in the Kohl Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Pictured with Rein are native Soviet Georgians.
Andy Rein competes You In-Tak 1984 Olympic Finals (photo by Steve Brown): Rein wrestles You In-Tak of South Korea in the 1984 Olympic finals.
When Andy Rein (center) became head wrestling coach at the University of Wisconsin at age 28, he hired fellow Olympians John Azevedo (L) and Dave Schultz (R) as his assistants.
Andy Rein in 1984, ready for the Olympics.
Andy Rein is currently  is a Strategic Accounts Manager at SKF USA.
Andy Rein’s next (and maybe most difficult) goal is to learn to play guitar.