Rod Library--Special Collections

University of Northern Iowa Wrestling Coach Don Briggs

1983-1989 Seasons

1983 Season

Assistant Coaches:

  • Keith Mourlam
  • Jim Miller

Team Captains:

  • Bob Hallman (118)
  • Larry Luttrell (150)
  • Efonda Sproles (177) 

Season Record: 17-3

In Briggs's first season as Head Coach, UNI tied Oklahoma for second at the Midwest Wrestling Championships, placed second behind Louisiana State in the West Regional Tournament, and placed tenth at the NCAA national tournament.

The first Midwest Wrestling Championships were held December 29-30, 1982, at Iowa State University.  The only UNI wrestler to win a title was Efonda Sproles at 177.  Randy Majors (126) and Scott Morningstar (142) each placed second.

UNI Sports Information stated in a January 24 release that six Panther wrestlers were ranked in Amateur Wrestling News's Mid-Season Top 20 ranking:  Bob Hallman was ranked thirteenth at 118, Randy Majors ninth at 126, Larry Luttrell twelfth at 150, Jay Llewellyn sixth at 167, Efonda Sproles seventh at 177, and John Kriebs twelfth at heavyweight.

Scott Morningstar
Scott Morningstar.

UNI hosted the NCAA Western Regional February 26-27, 1983, in the West Gym.  Seven wrestlers earned their eligibility to compete at the 1983 National Championships:  Bob Hallman (118), Randy Majors (126), Larry Luttrell (150), Jay Llewellyn (167), Efonda Sproles (177), Mark Johnson (190), and John Kriebs (hwt).  Kriebs placed first in his division at the tournament to secure his spot, while Majors, Johnson, and Sproles placed second.  Hallman and Llewellyn both placed third.  As a team, UNI placed second behind Louisiana State University.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, hosted the NCAA Championships March 10-12.  Two UNI wrestlers earned All-American status by placing at the tournament.  Randy Majors placed third at 126, ending his strong career with a record 50 wins and only 15 losses.  His teammate John Kriebs placed fifth at heavyweight.  Efonda Sproles was defeated in the consolation round, ending his chances of becoming an All-American that season.  Although this was Briggs's first season as coach, the Panthers placed tenth at the tournament.  The 1983 season ended with a 17-3 team record.  The Panthers lost only to the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Nebraska.


 

1984 Season

Assistant Coaches:

  • Keith Mourlam
  • Jim Miller

Season Record:  12-6

Five seniors returned this season to do battle for the UNI Panthers:  Bob Hallman (118), Dave Morkel (134), Dion Cobb (167), Jay Llewellyn (167), and John Kriebs (hwt).

The Midwest Championships were held at Ames, Iowa, December 29-30, 1983.  The competition was strong, as three of the top four schools participated.  UNI placed second, behind Oklahoma State, and Iowa State placed third. Randy Thompson defeated Illinois wrestler Jeff Fiornini for the 177 championship.  Other place winners were Lew Sondgeroth (142) and John Kriebs (hwt) at second, and Bob Hallman (118) and Jay Llewellyn at third.

A win over rival Iowa State University topped the 1984 season.  UNI beat ISU 21-17 on January 28.  This was the first victory over ISU coach Harold Nichols, and also the first dual victory over the school in thirtuy-two years.  A record 5753 fans piled into the dome to watch this momentous meet.

Bob HallmanUNI placed second at the West Regional tournament held in Cedar Falls that year.  Bob Hallman (shown to the right), John Kriebs, and Jeff Weatherman all placed first in their classes and qualified for the NCAA Championships.  Paul Kreimeyer and Dave Grant placed second and Jay Llewellyn third to secure their spots at the national tournament as well.

The 1984 NCAA Championships were held at East Rutherford, New Jersey, March 8-10.  Although John Kriebs was ranked second in the nation at heavyweight coming into the tournament, he left the meet sixth in his class.  Other wrestlers who placed at the meet were Bob Hallman, second at 118, and Dave Grant, eighth at 158.

 


1985 Season

Assistant Coaches:

  • John Kriebs
  • Jim Miller

Season Record: 9-8

The Midwest Wrestling Championships were held December 29-30 at Ames, Iowa.  UNI placed sixth out of twenty-nine teams and had two champions.  Paul Kreimeyer and Lew Sondgeroth both placed first at 118 and 142 respectively.  Perry Summitt placed fourth at 118.

UNI had another second place finish in the West Regional tournament in 1985.  First place finishers were Paul Kreimeyer at 118 and Lew Sondgeroth at 142.  Jeff Weatherman (190) and Pat Pickford (126) both placed second, while Scott Morningstar (150) and Dave Grant (167) placed third.

All six wrestlers competed at the NCAA meet in Oklahoma City that spring, but only two earned All-American status.  Paul Kreimeyer placed sixth in his class and Lew Sondgeroth placed fifth.  As a team, UNI placed eighteenth.

In post-season wrestling, Kurt Shedenhelm (149.5) and Tony Koontz (hwt) won their divisions at the National Espoir Freestyle Tournament in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania.  This meet featured wrestlers under twenty years of age.  Freshman wrestler Jeff Clutter was also named to the Amateur Wrestling News National Freshman All-Star Team in April.


1986 Season

Assistant Coaches:

  • John Kriebs
  • Jim Miller

Season Record: 12-8

At the Midwest Championships, UNI placed third out of twenty-seven teams and had three wrestlers place in the top three.  Pat Pickford (126), Jeff Weatherman (177), and Mike Llewellyn (190) all placed second in their divisions.

UNI won the West Regional Tournament this season, sending ten wrestlers to the national meet.  The tournament was held February 28-March 1 at Springfield, Missouri.  First place wins from Tony Koontz, Mark Schwab, Pat Pickford, and Jeff Weatherman helped boost UNI to victory over second place winner Drake University.  Second place winners were Marty Anderson (134), Kurt Shedenhelm (142), Dan Majewski (150), Jeff Clutter (158), and Joel Greenlee (190).  Kevin Kahl placed third at 167.  UNI was one of only three schools to have qualified wrestlers at all ten weight classes for the national tournament.  The other schools were Iowa State University and Oklahoma State.

Mark SchwabThe NCAA tournament was held at Iowa City, Iowa, March 13-15.  UNI finished seventeenth overall and had two All-Americans, freshman Mark Schwab (see photo to the left) placed fifth at 118 pounds and sophomore Jeff Clutter was eighth at 158.  Marty Anderson (134), Kurt Shedenhelm (142), Kevin Kahl (167), and Tony Koontz (hwt) all lost their matches in the first round of wrestling.  Joel Greenlee (190), Pat Pickford (126), Jeff Weatherman (177), and Dan Majewski (150) all made it to the consolation bracket but did not place.

This was a successful season for Mark Schwab.  He earned the record for the most victories in a single season for a freshman with his final 49-9 mark.

Four UNI wrestlers were named to the Amateur Wrestling News Freshman National All-Star Team:  Mark Schwab, Joel Greenlee, Tony Koontz, and Kevin Kahl.  Schwab and Koontz were named to the second team, Greenlee the third team, and Kahl the sixth team.


1987 Season

Assistant Coaches:

  • John Kriebs
  • Jim Miller

Season Record:18-6

The 1987 team consisted of twenty freshmen, ten sophomores, seven juniors, and four seniors.  Fourteen members were returning letterwinners.

The Midwest Championships were held December 28-29 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.  UNI placed second overall out of thirty-nine teams and had three wrestlers place in the top three.  Mike Schwab (126) and Jeff Weatherman (hwt) placed first in their divisions, while Joe Gribben placed second at 134.

For the second consecutive year, UNI won the West Regional tournament.  Seven wrestlers qualified for the NCAA, including six champions: Mike Schwab (126), Joe Gribben (134), Kurt Shedenhelm (142), Pat Hogan (150), Jeff Weatherman (190), and Joel Greenlee (hwt).  Keith Massey also became eligible for the national competition.

Joe Gribben
Joe Gribben (right) holding his opponent.

As a team, UNI finished thirteenth at the NCAA Championships March 19-21.  Mike Schwab finished eighth at 126 and Jeff Weatherman placed fifth at 190 to take home All-American honors.  Briggs received another honor by being chosen president of the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

The strong wrestling talents of Mark Schwab and Tony Koontz were visibly missing from the 1987 season.  Schwab had chosen to redshirt that season so he could wrestle overseas.  He was one of fifteen U. S. wrestlers who competed at the Tbilisi Tournament in the Soviet Republic of Georgia in January.  To qualify for the meet, he won first place at the Hall of Fame Classic meet in Oklahoma City the previous November.  He was the first person to qualify for the meet since Mike McCready in 1973.  Although his record was a close 5-4 at the tournament, this experience helped him prepare for Olympic wrestling.

When Tony Koontz was beaten out of his starting spot at heavyweight by Joel Greenlee, he began concentrating on freestyle wrestling.  He competed on the American All-Star team at the Cuba-Cerro La Cuada Tournament in February 1987.  There he placed second in his class.  Koontz had qualified for this tournament by placing third at the same Hall of Fame Classic meet.


1988 Season

Assistant Coaches:

  • John Kriebs
  • Jim Miller

Season Record: 14-3

Mid-season, Mark Schwab (118) and Joel Greenlee (hwt) wrestled in the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Wrestling Classic.  This event matched wrestlers from across the nation, who were ranked first and second by Amateur Wrestling News.  Schwab was defeated by Jack Cuvo of Pennsylvania at the meet, and Greenlee received a 4-4 draw with his opponent.

WrestlerUNI again won the West Regional title, although this time with six champions.  Mike Schwab (126), Kurt Shedenhelm(142), Pat Hogan (150), Chris Lembeck (158), Keith Massey (167), and Joel Greenlee (hwt) all placed first.  All six of those wrestlers, and third place winner Doug Downs (177), were able to wrestle at the national meet.  The other UNI wrestler to place was Paul Huffman (118).  He did not qualify for the national meet.

The NCAA meet was held March 17-19 at Ames, Iowa.  There, Joel Greenlee placed fourth and Chris Lembeck, shown here in his wrestling stance, placed fifth.  They were UNI's only two All-Americans that year.  As a team, UNI placed thirteenth.


 

1989 Season

Assistant Coaches:

  • Keith Mourlam
  • Jim Miller

Season Record: 12-6

Heavyweight Joel Greenlee began his senior year in wrestling by competing at the International Canadian Tournament.  There he placed an impressive third in his class.  Coming into the 1989 season, he held an 83-14-4 record.

In late December, the team brought home a third place finish at the Midwest Championships in Des Moines.  At the West Regional tournament, UNI again won first place, sending seven to the national tournament.

Wrestlers Qualifying for National Tournament

Mark Schwab - 118
Duane Martin - 126
Gary Steffensmeier - 142
Pat Hogan - 150
Chris Lembeck - 158
Rich Powers - 177
Joel Greenlee - hwt (named Outstanding Wrestler)

At the NCAA Championships, UNI finished fourteenth, with only one wrestler placing in the top eight.  Joel Greenlee became a two-time All-American by placing second in his class.  This was the highest any UNI wrestler had placed since 1984, when Bob Hallman placed second at 118.

In June, UNI Assistant Coach Jim Miller was named National Wrestling Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year.

[Click here to view the 1990-1997 wrestling seasons with Coach Briggs]


Compiled by Library Assistant Susan A. Basye, February 1998; last updated, January 22, 2014 (GP).


Rod Library Special Collections and University Archives
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613-3675
Telephone: (319)-273-6307
Fax: (319)-273-2913
Email: Gerald.Peterson@uni.edu