STILLWATER, OKLA. – The National Wrestling Hall of Fame officially inducted Campbell wrestling head coach Cary Kolat into the Hall of Fame during the 41st Annual Honors Weekend, June 2-3.
Kolat is recognized as a Distinguished Member for the Modern Era. The NWHOF recognizes distinguished members as 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.
"It's the biggest accomplishment of my career," stated Kolat. "When I started out, I never set out for the hall of fame. That was down the road and not something as a young man you think about. Now at the age of 44, looking back on it and having people vote me in, it is the biggest honor and cements your place in the sport."
Kolat finished his third season at the helm of Campbell wrestling, leading the Camels to a 2017 Southern Conference Championship and earning SoCon Coach of the Year honors. Campbell sent a program-high five wrestlers to the 2017 NCAA Wrestling Championships. CU also earned its first All-American in program history, as Nathan Kraisser finished 8th in the 125-pound weight class.
As a competitor, Kolat posted a flawless record for Jefferson-Morgan High School, finishing 137-0, while earning Outstanding Wrestler honors at the state tournament every year. His first two collegiate years were at Penn State, where he reached the Big Ten and NCAA finals as a freshman and was the Big South Wrestler of the Year during his sophomore year.
He transferred to Lock Haven and claimed a NCAA Championship in 1996 and 1997, finishing with a 50-1 overall record in his two years. While at Lock Haven, he won a pair of Pennsylvania State Athletic Championships and Eastern Wrestling League Championships. He was twice named Outstanding Wrestler during that span as well.
After his collegiate career, he took home silver at the 1997 World Championships and bronze at the 1998 event. He claimed gold at the World Cup (1998-2000) and at the Pan American Games (1999, 2000). He earned silver at the 2001 World Cup and ninth at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.