STILLWATER, Okla. – Former Lehigh head coach Greg Strobel was formally inducted as a distinguished member into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as the Museum hosted its 36th annual Honors Weekend June 1-2. Strobel spent 13 seasons as Lehigh’s head coach, where he won six EIWA Championships and helped guide the Brown and White back to national prominence.
Strobel was hired to guide the Lehigh wrestling program in the spring of 1995 and in 13 seasons he guided the Brown and White to one of its most successful runs in program history. He posted a 189-83-1 dual meet record, good for the second most wins in school annals, and led the Mountain Hawks to six EIWA team titles including a string of five straight from 2002-2006. Strobel’s Lehigh teams finished in the top ten at the NCAA Championships six times, led by the 2004 squad which tied for third place with five All-Americans. For his efforts in the 2003-04 season, Strobel was named the NWCA National Coach of the Year.
A four-time EIWA Coach of the Year, Strobel guided his wrestlers to 28 individual EIWA titles and 30 All-American medals. Strobel coached two NCAA Champions, Rob Rohn in 2002 and Troy Letters in 2004.
Strobel’s prolific career as a wrestler and coach began at Scappoose High School in Oregon, where he was a three-time state champion. From there, he went on to Oregon State where he wrestled for Hall of Fame coach Dale Thomas. Strobel was a three-time All-American and compiled a 124-5-1 career record wrestling for the Beavers.
As a junior at the 1973 NCAA tournament, Strobel was thrown early in his championship finals match at 190 pounds against Johnny Johnson of Northern Illinois before storming back for an 11-7 victory. He became Oregon State’s first ever recipient of the Outstanding Wrestler Award for his efforts. He finished the season at 39-0, and continued his unbeaten streak into the 1974 season. Strobel capped his senior season with another NCAA title and winning streak of 77 matches.
A 1975 graduate of Oregon State, Strobel received his bachelor’s degree and master’s in business education. Strobel, who was also a three-time Pacific 8 Conference champion, earned a NCAA Post-Graduate Scholar-Athlete Award in 1975.
From 1983-1991 Strobel was the Director of National Team Programs for USA Wrestling, which included a stint as National Freestyle Coach from 1987-88.
On the international circuit, Strobel was one of USA Wrestling’s most successful freestyle coaches. He was a co-coach for the 2000 U.S. Olympic Freestyle team and an assistant with the 1996 Olympic team. He also coached internationally in several U.S. World teams plus the 1997 U.S. World Cup team, 1997 U.S. Junior World team and the 1994 U.S. Goodwill Games team.
Strobel, who initially came to Lehigh after serving as wrestling coach for the Team Foxcatcher club program in Pennsylvania, has also helped advance the sport of wrestling through holding key leadership positions at Lehigh and for USA Wrestling. For his efforts, Strobel was named USA Wrestling’s Man of the Year in 2010.
Joining Strobel as distinguished members in the Class of 2012 are Fred Fozzard, who was one of the United States’ first world champions in freestyle; 1999 world champion Stephen Neal, who went on to win three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots; and Chris Taylor, a two-time NCAA Champion and Olympic Bronze Medalist, who at over 400 pounds was the heaviest competitor in Olympic history. 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.
Strobel is the third Lehigh head coach to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining Billy Sheridan and Gerry Leeman. He is the first person with Lehigh ties inducted into the Hall of Fame since Ed Eichelberger ’56 was inducted in 2009. Eichelberger is one of three Lehigh wrestlers in the Hall of Fame along with Bobby Weaver ’83 and Mike Caruso ’67. 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.
Strobel continues to work in the Lehigh Athletics department, serving as Assistant Athletic Director for Camps and External Relations.
Photography (c) 2012, Larry Slater, USA Wrestling