Wrestling – Click on Inductee to view Biography
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- Robin Reed - Wrestling
Robin Reed wrestled his way through Oregon State to Olympic gold and left the sport with a long list of admirers and rivals.
Born in 1899, Reed grew up in Portland and graduated from Franklin High, having built a solid body while working at a shipyard. From Franklin, he enrolled at Oregon State, which was called Oregon Agricultural College at the time, and won every match he entered. He won three AAU national titles in his four years, missing a fourth title in a meet in which he did not lose a match. He is also credited with coaching Corvallis High to a state title while at OSU.
In 1924, he not only won the Olympic gold medal at 134.5 pounds, but became a sport legend – winning the Pacific Northwest Olympic trials at four weights. On the boat ride to Europe for the Paris Games, Reed wrestled and pinned all-but-one member of the U.S. team. He won all his matches at the Games by fall, including the final against OSU teammate Chester Newton.
Reed became coach of the OSU wrestling team in 1926 and the school won the AAU national title that year, but immediately dropped the program for a decade. Reed turned to professional wrestling, much of in Corvallis, for the next decade.
After retiring from the sport in 1936, Reed moved to Lincoln City and became a realtor.
He finished his degree in 1971 at age 72. He died in 1978.
Reed was inducted to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1978, the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class in 1980, and the Oregon State University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1988.
- Jess Lewis - Wrestling
Although his career in the National Football League lasted just one season, Jess Lewis made a lasting impression on Oregon through his wrestling and football accomplishments while at Oregon State University in the late 1960s. He played on the defensive line for the 1967 “Giant Killers,” and remains one of the school’s all-time great wrestlers, losing just one match in three seasons.
Born in Aumsville in 1947, Lewis grew up on a farm and won three state wrestling titles (1963-65) at Cascade High. At OSU, he wrestled under coach Dale Thomas and played football under coach Dee Andros.
Lewis became a state hero in 1967 as a 20-year-old sophomore when he helped the OSU football team beat No. 1 Southern California and No. 2 Purdue. The Beavers finished the season ranked No. 7 in the nation, and he earned All-America honors as a defensive tackle.
In the winter of 1968, he won his first Pac-8 wrestling title, and reached the NCAA final at heavyweight, when he suffered the only loss of this collegiate career. In spring, he qualified for the ’68 Olympic Summer Games held in Mexico City. He tied for sixth from among 15 competitors in the Freestyle tournament at Light-Heavyweight. The U.S. team included fellow Beaver Henk Schenk, who competed in the Greco-Roman tournament at Light-Heavyweight.
Lewis won NCAA wrestling titles as a junior and senior at heavyweight. He was a combined 76-1 as a wrestler in his three seasons and helped the Beavers finish third in the NCAA tournament in ’69 and ’70.
After being named the OSU MVP following the 1969 football season, the Houston Oilers selected Lewis in the 13th round of the 1970 NFL Draft and turned him into a linebacker. He played for the team for just one season.
Lewis was voted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1981. He was one of 15 nominees for the NCAA 75th Anniversary Team in 2005.
- Ron Finley - Wrestling
Ron Finley put his stamp on Oregon as a state champion at Newberg, national finalist at Oregon State, Olympian, and then coach at the University of Oregon.
Finley grew up in Newberg and won state titles in 1957 and ‘58, before moving to Oregon State to train under legendary coach Dale Thomas.
At OSU, Finley reached just one NCAA final, placing second in the 1961 NCAA tournament at 137 pounds. But, Finley performed at his best in open tournaments and claimed a spot on the U.S. National team in 1962. He placed fourth at the world championships at featherweight in the freestyle bracket. He was fourth at the ’63 world championships in the same event.
He qualified for the 1964 Olympic Summer Games and placed 4th in the Greco-Roman division at 138.75 pounds. He placed 6th in the world championships at the same weight in 1966.
Finley took over the wrestling team at Oregon in 1970 and led the program through 1998 before stepping down. While at Oregon, Finley was head coach of the U.S. Greco-Roman team at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. The team featured four medalists, including gold medalists Jeff Blatnick and Steve Fraser.
Finley was inducted to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1982.
The National Wrestling Hall of Fame honored him with a lifetime award for his service to the sport.
- Chester Newton - Wrestling
Chester Newton wrestled his way into state lore at Oregon State and then the U.S. Olympic team, winning a silver medal in 1924 Paris Games.
Newton, born in 1903, grew up in Canby and wrestled for Oregon State in the early 20s. He also competed for the Multnomah Athletic Club. In 1924, he qualified for the Olympics and met OSU teammate Robin Reed in the freestyle final at featherweight. Reed won.
Newton died in 1966. He was inducted to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame as part of its inaugural class in 1980. He was inducted to the Oregon State University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1991.
- Les Gutches - Wrestling
Les Gutches won championships at every level of wrestling outside of the Olympic Games, becoming one of the state’s top competitors in the process.
Born in Medford in 1973, Gutches grew up in a wrestling family, his father, Les Senior, having won a state title as a youth. Les won three state titles (171, 178 and 191 pounds) at South Medford High between 1989 and ’91, and won a USA Wrestling national title each year as well. He won the FILA Junior World Freestyle competition in 1991.
At Oregon State, Gutches was an All-American in 1994, ’95 and ’96 and won an NCAA title in ’95 and ’96, when he received the Dan Hodge Trophy as the top wrestler in the nation. Gutches won the USA Wrestling national title at 180.5 pounds later in the year and represented the U.S. at the Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta. He finished fifth. Les also won the gold medal in 1997 and the bronze medal in 1999 at the World Championships.
Following the Olympics, he served as an assistant coach at OSU for three years and then again from 2002-06. He also served as an assistant for the U.S. National Team at the 2002 Freestyle World Cup.
Gutches was inducted in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. He is also an inductee of the Oregon State Athletics Hall of Fame (2003) and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame (2009).