OSU wrestling mourns death of Seay

STILLWATER – Former Oklahoma State wrestling coach and National Wrestling Hall of Fame member Joe Seay passed away Thursday at the age of 80. 

Seay headed the wrestling program at OSU from 1985 through 1991, winning two titles in that period. The Cowboy coach guided seven Pokes to individual NCAA titles and reeled in the program’s 28th and 29th team titles.

“The passing of coach Seay leaves me with a heavy heart but also a heart full of gratitude,” coach John Smith said. “I had the opportunity to benefit from his unique coaching style. It truly helped me accomplish all of my hopes and dreams. His influence on athletes at every level he coached is spread out across this nation.”

Smith wrestled for Seay beginning his sophomore year at OSU and claimed both NCAA titles under his instruction. Seay also coached Olympian Kendall Cross to an NCAA championship and four-time champion Pat Smith to his first two titles.

Before recording an impressive 114-18-2 record at OSU, Seay spent 12 seasons at Cal State-Bakersfield where he led the program to seven NCAA Division II Championships. He then coached the USA to milestone victories in the Goodwill Games, World Championships and 1996 Olympic Games. The 1993 Senior World freestyle championship marked the first for Team USA.

Seay was inducted as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1998 and has been considered one of the greatest American freestyle coaches of all time.

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