Friday, July 30, 2021

Defending The Title: 1963: Those Who Did and Those Who Didn't Defend The Title

 1963 was one of the most prolific years in collegiate wrestling for a variety of different reasons.  As discussed in previous "Defending The Title" pieces, with the NAIA holding their first tournament in 1958, the top NAIA wrestlers could compete in the NCAA championships. In 1963 NCAA wrestling split into two divisions, the University Division and the College Division.  Today the College Division is what we know as NCAA Division II, which years later in itself broke into two divisions, also including NCAA Division III.   

Another important fact to note in 1963, is that the NCAA went from recognizing the top four place-winners as All Americans to recognizing the top six.   

Mickey Martin of Oklahoma won his second NCAA title as Mike Natvig of the Army also won his second NCAA title. 

1963 Champion 115
Bucky Maughan of Minnesota-Moorhead 

An NAIA champion for the Dragons in 1962 & 1963, Maughan added a NCAA title to his impressive resume in 1963.  Post college he became one of the most successful and recognized coaches in NCAA Division II wrestling leading the North Dakota State Bison to 29 top 10 finishes at the National tournament, which included winning titles in 1988, 1998, 2000 and 2001.  Winning 369 duels, he coached 27 NCAA Division II champions.  Of note, Maughan was always very vocal in his opposition to smaller division wrestling programs being forced to move up to compete at the NCAA Division I level.  He feels this led to the fall of Portland State wrestling, Slippery Rock, SIU-Carbondale, & a number of other successful DII teams that had difficulty transitioning to the DI level. When NDSU and South Dakota State were both forced to move from DII to DI, he spent a great deal of time and effort helping various wrestlers transfer to other DII programs.  It's an interesting perspective that hasn't been explored or discussed much. 

1963 Champion 123
Mike Nissen of Nebraska 

While not near as celebrated as teams like Iowa, Penn State and Oklahoma State, the University of Nebraska has a right in many ways to call itself a wrestling school.  Along with Michigan, I can make a convincing argument that the Huskers may be the top team yet to win an NCAA title.  Their legacy started here in 1963, with Mike Nissen winning the NCAA title as a senior.  He placed 3rd in 1962 as a junior.  Post college, he worked for Mid-American Dairymen. 

1963 Champion 137 
Bill Dotson of Northern Iowa 

A two time state champion for Waterloo East high school, Bill Dotson is the answer to a fun trivia question. Who was the first wrestler in the history of NCAA wrestling to win both a DII and a DI title?  Answer? Bill Dotson.  After finishing as the runner-up at the NCAA tournament in 1962, he added two gold medals to his collection winning DII and DI titles in 1963.  Post college Dotson coached at both the high school and collegiate level.  Dubuque, Waterloo East and Charles City high schools, then at Western State, Northern Michigan and New Mexico at the collegiate level. 

1963 Champion 157
Kirk Pendleton of Lehigh 

A three time EIWA champion, the only losses Kirk Pendleton ever faced in his illustrious career were in the 1961 & 1962 NCAA finals. Yet in 1963, he would not be denied as he won the NCAA final.  Winning 64 matches, 33 of them were by fall. 

1963 Champion 167 
Jim Harrison of Pittsburgh 

Harrison was a senior when he won the NCAA title for the Panthers. 

1963 Champion 177
Dean Lahr of Colorado 

A graduate of Denver North High School, Lahr won two BIG 12 titles, finishing as the NCAA runner-up in 1962 as a sophomore before winning back to back NCAA titles in 1963 and 1964.  An Olympian in 1964 Lahr, coached at both Pittsburgh and Oregon State. 

1963 Champion 191 
Yogi Barden 

1963 was quite a successful year for Barden as he not only won the NCAA title for the Wolverines, but upon graduation won a gold medal at the Pan-American championships.  A doctor in Belleville, Michigan, Barden coached for a short time at Notre Dame. 

1963 Champion UNL
Jim Nance of Syracuse 

Seeing he was too big to compete at the 185 lbs weight class, the State of Pennsylvania added a HWT class to their state championships.  A three time EIWA champion, Nance won the NCAA title as a sophomore in 1963.  Injury would see him finish one match shy of All American status in 1964, but he would come back strong to win a second NCAA title in 1965.  A force to be reckoned with on the gridiron, he had success in both the AFL and the WFL. 


Natvig and Martin previously mentioned 

A great year for seniors in Maughan, Nissen, Dotson, Pendleton, Harrison and Barden 

Lahr repeated in 1964

Nance did not repeat in 1964 but did repeat again in 1965 

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