In 1950, the Panthers won their first and only Division I Championship. Under the guidance of coach Dave McCuskey , the Panthers placed seven individuals at the competition, compiling 30 total team points, and earning them title. The Panthers defeated such teams as Purdue, Illinois, Michigan State, Cornell, Nebraska, and Oklahoma in front of the home crowd in the Men's Gymnasium (West Gymnasium).
The season started off successfully for the Panthers as they went undefeated in their 11 match schedule. Teams that fell to the Panthers were Purdue (Big Ten Champions), Oklahoma, Illinois, Minnesota, and Nebraska. The highest point total the opposition could score against the Panthers was 8, while the Panthers averaged 23 points per match. The regular season success continued in the championships, where the Panthers dominated the field.
Program from the Campionships.
Bill Smith (far left), Keith Young (right), and Bill Nelson (holding a competitor below) were the driving force behind the Panther's victory. Nelson won at 155 pounds, Young at 145 pounds, and Smith at 165 pounds. All three were repeat champions from the year before.
Four other Panthers also placed in their respective divisions. Frank Altman (left) placed third at 121 pounds, Floyd Oglesby (right) placed second at 136 pounds, Luverne Klar (below on the left) placed fourth at 128 pounds, and Fred Stoeker (below on the right) placed second in the heavyweight division. When the competition was over, the Panthers had won the title with a 14 point margin of victory over second place Purdue.
The Panthers also took home the AAU Championship one week later in Hempstead, New York. This was their second consecutive AAU Championship. With the help of Smith, Nelson, and Young, the Panthers were able to slip by Cornell 44-40 to take home the title. When the season was officially over, Bill Nelson, Keith Young, Bill Smith, Frank Altman, Fred Stoeker, and reserve Gene Lybbert all finished with undefeated records.
Compiled by Jonathan Russell; edited by Susan A. Basye
Special Collections and University Archives