Posted: June 8, 2009
STILLWATER, Okla. – Former Lehigh wrestler Ed Eichelberger ’56 was formally inducted as a distinguished member into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame on Saturday, as the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum hosted its 33rd annual Honors Weekend. Lehigh’s first two-time NCAA wrestling champion and one of just three Lehigh wrestlers to be named Outstanding Wrestler at the NCAA tournament, Eichelberger becomes the third Lehigh wrestler to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
As part of the Honors Weekend, the Hall of Fame also paid tribute to Lehigh University Wrestling, which celebrated its 100th season in 2008-09. Among those in attendance representing Lehigh at the induction were coaches Pat Santoro, Greg Strobel, Thad Turner and Tom Hutchinson and former wrestlers Bobby Weaver, Mark Lieberman and Kirk Pendleton.
Eichelberger was Lehigh’s first three-time All-America, posting a 55-3-1 career record on the mats for the Brown and White. After losing in the national finals 1954, Eichelberger went 40-0 in his final two seasons at Lehigh. In 1955, Eichelberger went 19-0 and captured the NCAA title at 147, earning Outstanding Wrestler honors at the NCAA tournament. The following year, he repeated as champion with a 21-0 season record.
An accomplished pinner, Eichelberger ranks second in school annals with 37 career falls. He owns school records with eight consecutive wins by fall and eight falls in NCAA Tournament competition. Eichelberger was a two-time EIWA Champion and boasted an incredible 30-1-1 record in dual meets.
A native of Norfolk, Virginia, Eichelberger won three state championships wrestling for Granby High School under legendary head coach Billy Martin, before moving onto Lehigh, where he was coached by the late Gerry Leeman.
Eichelberger earned his degree in electrical engineering and was employed by IBM for 38 years, from 1956 until his retirement in 1994. He received both his Master’s and Ph.D. from Princeton University. His accomplishments for IBM were almost as impressive as his mat credentials. In 38 years, he received 25 patents in the field of chip, circuit and test design. In 1974, he received the “Outstanding Contributor Award” from IBM for technical publications and patents.
Joining Eichelberger as distinguished members in the class of 2009 are Peter Blair, a two-time NCAA Champion and Olympic bronze medalist from Navy, Greco-Roman Olympic Medalist Dennis Koslowski, and Les Gutches, a two-time NCAA Champion and world freestyle champion from Oregon State. A Distinguished Member is a wrestler who has achieved extraordinary success in national and/or international competition, a coach who has demonstrated great leadership in the profession and has compiled an outstanding record, a contributor whose long-term activities have substantially enhanced the development and advancement of the sport.
Eichelberger is the third Lehigh wrestler to be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, joining Weaver ’83, who was inducted last year and Mike Caruso ’67, who was inducted in 1991. Former coaches Billy Sheridan and Gerry Leeman are also in the Hall of Fame as distinguished members, and Lehigh also has four men with University ties in the Hall of Outstanding Americans: Phillip Rauch ’33, Art Rutzen ’70, Dr. Kenneth J. Faust ’55 and former President Dr. Peter Likins.
In addition, the Hall of Fame recognized the recently completed 100th season of Lehigh wrestling. The Mountain Hawks enjoyed one of their finest dual seasons ever in the centennial campaign, winning their first 15 duals and finishing with a 23-1 dual mark. Lehigh placed second at the EIWA tournament with two individual champions, Seth Ciasulli and David Craig, and Santoro was recognized as the EIWA Coach of the Year in his first season at Lehigh.