National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Upstate New York Chapter, Announces Class of 2016
February 13, 2016


The National Wrestling Hall of Fame of the New York State Chapter would like to announce the eight new inductees into the Hall of Fame and this year's winners of the Medal of Courage and Outstanding American Award. The Upstate New York Chapter is dedicated to the main goals of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame which are (1) recognizing excellence in wrestling in the Upstate New York area; (2) preserving the rich and colorful history of wrestling in New York and (3) inspiring future generations of New Yorkers to participate in one of the oldest and best sports in the world.

This year we take great pride in recognizing nine individuals who will be honored at this occasion on September 18, 2016 at the Double Tree Hotel in East Syracuse, New York: The nine individuals who will be honored at this occasion are: Brad Hamer - Jordan-Elbridge and Section III; Charles Hughes - Waverly High School; Thomas Hurley - Elmira City Schools - Posthumously; John Kopalek - Maine-Endwell & Chenango Valley High Schools; Richard Morton - Salamanca High School; John Murray - Ithaca College; Robert Stulmaker - NYSPHSAA and Saratoga Springs High School; Robert Zifchock - Valley Central High School; Outstanding American Award - James Carrier - Investment Manager - New York City and Sherburne-Earlville High School; and Liam Ollive - Beacon City Schhol High School has been selected to receive the Medal of Courage Award. The Chapter is also delighted to be awarding John Drew of the Central New York Wrestling Online website the annual Stanbro Media Award for 2016. The Central New York Wrestling website covers wrestling in Section II, Section III, Section IV, and Section X.

Robert E. Stulmaker

Robert E. Stulmaker received his Bachelors (1977) and Masters (1981) degrees in Physical Education from Ithaca College. He earned Educational Administration degrees from the State University of New York at Albany in 1992 and 1994. Friends and colleagues know him as Bob.

Bob's educational career is noteworthy and filled with many accolades that speak to his ability to inspire others to greatness. He has served in the capacity of the NYSPHSAA Section II Wrestling Chairman from 1988 to 1997 and Bob is well-known throughout New York State as a leading advocate for wresting and all athletics.

Bob was the Head Wrestling Coach at Saratoga Springs High School from 1983-1995, building an impressive 125-42-2 won-loss record that include several Section II Champions and Place Winners, as well as NY State Medalists.

In educational leadership roles, Bob has served the Saratoga Springs City Schools as Director of Physical Education. In addition, he has served as the President of the NYS Federation of Secondary School Athletic Associations from 2012-2014, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association as Assistant Director (2007-2015), retiring in August 2015. Furthermore, he is the past President of the NYS Athletic Administrators Association (2005-2006).

As an administrator, Bob received recognition and honors that include: the NYSAAA Apple Appreciation Award, the NIAAA State Award of Merit for New York, 2013 Saratoga Springs Schools Hall-of-Fame inductee and will be inducted into the NYSAAA Hall of Fame in March 2016. These prestigious awards pay tribute to Bob's leadership, involvement and support of student-athletes.

Bob is very active in community organizations, too. He is currently on the Ronald McDonald House and Launch Your Life Board of Directors. In the past, Bob served on the Boards of the Southern Saratoga County YMCA and Shaker Ridge Country Club, as well as Trustee for the Woodland Hills Montessori School.

Robert E. Stulmaker is a well-known leader, an outstanding role-model, and more than a friend to student-athletes, coaches, parents, administrators and citizens throughout New York.

Brad Hamer

Section III has been Brad Hamer's home for wrestling since he graduated from Fulton High School and continued his college wrestling at Cortland State under the tutelage of Vince Gonino. Following graduation from Cortland, Brad served one year at Albany as the graduate assistant to Joe Gracia and then embarked on a coaching career in Section III at Copenhagen and Liverpool High School.

Hamer then moved to Port Byron High School where he successfully rebuilt the Panther's wrestling program into a Section III powerhouse. His Port Byron's teams captured 2 OHSL League Championship and Brad was named the OHSL South Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1993. In 1992 his team received the John Arcaro Sportsmanship Award given by the Syracuse Wrestling Officials Association. Brad compiled 110 wins during his coaching career and produced many sectional place winners.

Brad became the Athletic Director for two years at Port Byron and then moved to Onondaga Central and served there as the Vice Principal and Athletic Director. He finished his educational administrative career at Jordan Elbridge where he was the Assistant Principal and Director of HPEA for fourteen years.

Brad has been for the last fifteen years the Section III Wrestling Coordinator and member of the New York State Wrestling Committee. From 2012-14, Brad was selected to be the President of Section III Athletics and still serves as a member of the Executive Committee of Athletics in the section.

In addition, Brad was instrumental in the establishing the Friends of Section III Wrestling in 2008. The Friends of Section III Wrestling has been very active in improving and supporting wrestling in the section with a Section III Wrestling Hall of Fame banquet, donating eight score clocks for the sectional finals, and providing the medals to all place winners.

Brad is active in his community as a member of the Jordan Elbridge Dollars for Scholars program, Jordan Fall Festival Committee, Jordan Community Council and being a member of the Jordan United Methodist Church where he sings in the choir and acts as Lay Leader.
Brad and his wife, Shannon, resides in Jordan and are the proud parents of two children Daniel and Kelly and the grandparents of Taylor Ann.

Tom Hurley - Posthumously

"Coach" Tom Hurley grew up in the Wilkes-Barre, PA area and graduated from Coughlin High School in 1946 where he was played several sports. Football was his first love and he played it during his two years in the Marine Corps (1946-48) and during his college career at Mansfield State. In 1954 he started his teaching career at the Elmira Southside High School and became the head wrestling coach in 1956 and served in that capacity until 1970. He also had a 23-year career as the head football coach at ESS and in October 1992 the new sports complex at Southside was dedicated to Tom. At the dedication, Kevin Callahan, one of Tom's former players who is the head coach at Division I - AA Monmouth University, stated, "I am sure at the time, he didn't envision us moving on and becoming coaches, at the college or high school level. He was training us for life and teaching us to be good people, to do the right thing and be role models."

Tom Hurley has been considered one of the most successful coaches in the history of athletics in the Elmira City School District. While the wrestling coach Tom achieved a 154-29-3 record along with developing 12 Section IV Champions and 2 state champions during this tenure. In 1967 Tom received the New York State Coaches Association Honor Award in wrestling and was selected as the Coach of the Decade for the 1960's.

Mike Stephens, brother of Tom's first state champion and Hall of Fame honoree Mark Stephens (2013), added "there is no doubt that without Coach Hurley my brother would never had won his 1966 state championship."

Impressive as his accolades are for wrestling he was also an outstanding football coach at Elmira. His Elmira teams won 113 games and garnered 6 conference championships and in 1971 and 1974 he was selected as the Coach of the Year in the conference. Today the Elmira City Schools present the Most Valuable Football Player Award in the memory of Tom.

In addition, Tom was one of the founding fathers of the Section IV Wrestling Officials Association and served as their assigner for many years. He accomplishments as an official included working the New York State Wrestling Championships four times - 1971, 72, 76 and 77. Tom spent his life serving and working for his student/athletes and the sports that he loved. Jim Gush, defensive coordinator for Baylor University and player for Tom at ESS, sums it up best with this statement, "Tom meant so much to me as a person. To me, he's the legend." He is truly a worthy honoree for the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Richard Morton

Richard Morton earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education in l980 from Ithaca College, and received a Masters of Education degree from St. Bonaventure University in l984. Rich has been a PE teacher and Coach at Salamanca High School since l980, and is the current Director of Physical Education and Athletic Director at SHS. Rich continues to inspire students and athletes, being selected "Teacher of the Year" by the student national honor society in June of 2009.

When people speak about leaders in the sport of wrestling in Western New York, the name Richard Morton is always in the forefront. Rich's accomplishments and contributions to wrestling are remarkable. He began his wrestling career at Olean High School, then went on to wrestle for Ithaca College where he was a two-time Division III NCAA National qualifier, and placed 5th in the 167 lb. weight class at the New York State Collegiate Championships.

Rich has been coaching wrestling for 36 years, and has been recognized extensively for his contributions. The Olean Times Herald chose Rich as the Sportsperson of the Year early on in his career. He has been inducted into the Cattaraugus County Sports Hall of Fame (2010), as well as the Western New York Wrestling Hall of Fame (2015). Under Rich's leadership, The Salamanca Warriors wrestling team has been league champions, class and sectional champions, and in 2003-04 were Section VI champions. Rich has developed sixty one individual class and league champions, twenty one Section VI champions, and fifteen NYS place winners. In addition, Rich has coached two 2-time individual NYS champions. Kane Smith, who won the NYS championships at 189 lbs. in both 2004 and 2005, and Ben Haas, who won the NYS championships at 145 lbs. (2011), and 152 lbs. in 2012. Ben currently wrestles for Lehigh University.

After being selected as the Southern Tier League Coach of the Year several times, Rich was selected as the Big 30 Coach of the Year in 2001/2002. In 2003, Coach Morton was selected Post Journal Coach of the Year, and Western New York Coaches Association/Section VI Coach of the Year. To promote and advocate the sport of wrestling, Rich organized and ran the Salamanca Invitational Wrestling Tournament for decades, and directed numerous Salamanca summer wrestling camps throughout his tenure.

As extraordinary as his accomplishments in wrestling, as a football coach, Rich Morton attained outstanding success on the football field. He led the Salamanca Warriors to three un-defeated regular seasons from l999 - 2001, with a record 24 - 0. He led his team to the NYS finals in l999, and the NYS semi-finals in 2001. Coach Morton's football accolades include: The NFL and Buffalo Bills Coach of the Week in 2000, and both the Big 30 Football Coach of the Year, and Western New York Coach of the Year in 2001.

As a two time cancer survivor, Rich Morton was chosen to be featured in an inspirational book written by former Buffalo Sabers player Pat La Fontaine, entitled- Companions in Courage. An entire chapter is devoted to Morton's courage and triumph as he battled cancer, and came back to coach a championship football team. Robert Breidenstein, Superintendent of the Salamanca School district said the following about Morton, "simply and aptly put, Rich cares about each student, every athlete, and every family as if they were his own." What more can be said about an individual and future National Wrestling Hall of Famer

John Murray

Three NCAA Division III National Wrestling Team Champions, three times NCAA Division III Coach of the Year Awards, and three times New York State Coach of the Year honors are just a start for the accolades that have been bestowed on John W. Murray.

John wrestled at Cornell University for Hall of Famer (2013) Coach Andy Noel and received several honors including The Eric LaFrance "Tough Guy" Award and the James Meldrim Award which is presented to the Cornell wrestler who exhibits "outstanding character, sportsmanship and contribution to Cornell wrestling."

Following his graduation with a degree in biology, John entered the world of collegiate wrestling coaching by taking over an Ithaca College wrestling program that was in danger of being dropped. What he accomplished there speaks volumes about this outstanding coach and individual. His teams finished in the top 15 twelve times in Murray's fifteen years of coaching, twenty-seven of his wrestlers earned 50 All-American honors including 5 NCAA Division III National Champions.

Following his retirement from coaching wrestling John and his partner John Pfunter started Advantage Sport & Fitness which has become one of the most successful distributors of commercial fitness equipment in North America. Advantage employs over 60 people and distributes fitness equipment throughout the East coast.

John has remained close to wrestling as a booster club member for both Cornell University and Ithaca College and has employed many former college wrestlers in the business.

In addition, John and his wife, Kathy have started a Christian ministry in the city of Ithaca - Catalyst Vineyard Church. The church had a grand opening on September 25, 2015 in the Kitchen Theatre Company in downtown Ithaca. Murray describes The Catalyst as, "a community of people who are working to create a comfortable environment where all people in Ithaca, regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey, their education level, economic standing, or ethnic background, can connect with God and experience an authentic community of faith. As Cornell Coach Rob Koll stated, "John continues to help people find fulfillment in their lives." It is with great honor that we award John Murray the Life-time Achievement Award.

Liam Ollive - Medal of Courage

Few wrestlers have displayed the courage and determination that Liam Ollive has demonstrated in his life. At the age of four he was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer of the soft tissue, and he went through 11 months of chemotherapy and 6 weeks of radiation. Following his treatments Liam went back to a "somewhat" normal life. However, in 2005 while at his oncologist a tumor was found on his leg. Immediately he started another treatment of chemo and radiation but the tumor failed to be eradicated and an amputation at the knee level was needed to save his life. A few months after the first amputation another surgery was needed above his knee due to an infection and suspect growth in the leg. Liam's parents and doctors were astounded with his quick recovery … ten days after the second surgery he was parasailing and displayed a strong desire to live a full and productive life.

When Liam entered the 9th grade he went out for Ron Tompkins' Beacon City School's wrestling team and found that he loved the challenge of wrestling - he enjoyed the opportunity to compete as an individual and to contribute to his team. Coach Tompkins stated, "when Liam first came into the wrestling room, I had some reservations. But when practice started, Liam was the first to arrive and immediately began the daily preparation for practice; and it has been that way ever since. There is never any excuses or complaints that practice is too hard, he pushes through everyday figuring out how to work through any challenges that come his way."

Liam not only participates in wrestling but he is also a member of the golf team, video club, culture club, the high school band and is a member of the National Honor Society. Dutchess Community College Statistics teacher, Robert Atwell summarizes Liam with this statement, "Liam succeeds with a combination of natural intelligence and an intense desire to succeed. He has a tremendous work ethic coupled with an aura that he will not be denied." The Upstate New York Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame is honored to present Liam Ollive with our Medal of Courage - a fitting award for all the courage and determination that he has demonstrated in his life.

Charles Hughes

Charlie Hughes has been at the forefront of Waverly High School Wrestling for 34 years during that time he has served as Hall of Fame (2008) Coach Jim McCloe's assistant and the head coach for his final 8 years of coaching. Coach Hughes attended Slippery Rock College coached by the great Fred Powell. Charlie benefited greatly from wrestling at the Rock by having such standout wrestlers on the team like Jake Spates (former Cornell Big Red and Oklahoma University coach), Stan Dziedzc (NCAA champion), Robbie Waller and a host of others including himself.

Coach Eric D'Arcy of Newark Valley attribute much of the success of Coach McCloe's wrestling teams to the outstanding work that Charlie did. Eric states that, "Charlie is technically very knowledgeable and all his athletes respect and desire to do their best for their coach." This had been proved out by the fact that in the 1999-00 season, Hughes received the New York State Assistant Coach of the Year Honors given by the NWCA. As the head coach at Waverly Charlie's team had a 93-60 record and won the Division II New York State Public High School Athletic Association's state title in 2009. He has had 4 New York Division II State Champions - Brian Sewatt (2009), Chris Nocchi (2009), Ryan Wolcott (2014) and last year's state champion AJ Burkhart. Furthermore, he has developed many Section IV and IAC champions and place winners.

Charlie placed a premium on good sportsmanship and his team reflect this - several of his Waverly Wolverines' teams have received the Section IV Officials Association Sportsmanship Awards. Coach Hughes has also been active in the National Wrestling Coach Association and is a member of the Executive Board of the Friends of Section IV. The Upstate New York Chapter is proud to honor Charlie with the Life-time Service Award for the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

John Kopalek

John was first introduced to the sport when he went out for the Chenango Valley wrestling team in 1963. He was a two year varsity starter and a Sect. IV place winner as a senior. After High School, John continued his education at Broome Community Junior College while wrestling for Head Coach Duane Whittaker and also was a starter on the wrestling team that was ranked 7th in the country. John qualified for the JUCO Nationals both seasons while at Broome.
He earned his Associates degree in Liberal Arts and went on to SUNY Buffalo to continue wrestling and further his education.

At Buffalo, John was the starting 158 pounder on a top 15 Div. 1 wrestling team coached by the Hall of Famer (1999) Ed Michael and assistant coach Scott Stever now head coach at RIT. He also was the New York State collegiate runner up at 158 lbs. in 1973. John received his Bachelor's degree in history and a minor in Physical Education. He later received his master's degree from Buffalo State College in Education.

In 1974 John began officiating wrestling in Sect. IV. A year later, he also started officiating collegiate wrestling. John began his coaching career as an assistant at Windsor high school in 1979, where he was a substitute teacher. In 1980 he became the head wrestling coach at BCC and coached three national qualifiers and three academic All Americans. BCC ended up dropping the sport a few years later. In 1982 John became an assistant to former collegiate teammate and Hall of Fame coach (2009) Fred Marcello at Maine-Endwell and together helped the Spartans become a Section IV power and a perennial top 20 ranked team in New York State. In 1990 John became head wrestling coach at his alma mater, Chenango Valley, where he coached that schools first Sect. IV champion in 33 years. In 1998 John was an unpaid assistant at Vestal High School under Hall of Fame Coach (2015) Tony Policare, who is the winningest coach in Section IV history. He stayed in that position until 2008.

Currently, John is officiating many top D-1 tournaments and is a member in good standing in the EWLOA (PIT) and EIWOA (Lehigh), MSWOA(OHIO), SFWOA(Sect. IV). John also has officiated in the National Collegiate Open in Ohio and the National High School Coaches' Association Dual-Meet Tournament in Virginia Beach. Furthermore, John has officiated wrestling in 6 states and worked in over 130 college tournaments. Altogether, John has coached wrestling for 29 seasons and is currently in his 28th season of officiating. The Upstate Chapter is happy to present John with the 2016 Lifetime Service Award.

Bob Zifchock

Bob has had an illustrious career in all aspects of the sport wrestling from wrestler, to official, to coach and to athletic administrator. Bob was a standout wrestler at Lansing High School and followed up with a strong career at Tompkins-Cortland Community College and Ithaca College. At Ithaca, he was a two-time qualifier for the Division III NCAA wrestling championships and placed third in the 142-pound weight class at the New York State Collegiate Wrestling Championships.

Coach Zifchock started his coaching career at Candor Central and then later moved on to Valley Central High School in Section IX. The Zifchock-led teams had a 163-89-3 dual meet record. While at Valley Central, Bob's teams won six consecutive Orange County League titles. Coach Zifchock's teams also won five Section IX Tournament Team championships and enjoyed a 48 consecutive dual match win streak within Section IX. In 1988, his Valley Central High School team won the New York State Wrestling Tournament team championship. During his tenure at Valley Central, he coached 25 individual Section IX champions, 11 all-state wrestlers and two individual New York State champions - Lou Ruggirello, Sr. and David Hardwick. In addition, he received recognition and honors by being named the 1995 USA Wrestling Man-of-the Year Award, honored with the 2010 Section IX Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2013 he was inducted in the New York State Wrestling Coaches Association's Hall-of-Fame.

His officiating career ran from 1974 to 1992 and included officiating in ten Empire State Games, two New York State Wrestling Cups held at West Point and serving as the Orange-Sullivan Rules Interpreter for four years. Bob's administration career incorporates being Athletics Director at several schools, serving on several state committees (New York State Athletic Administrators, Council of Administrators and New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) and coauthoring state-level guidance documents. As well as the work that he performed on a daily basis to enhance physical education programs in his schools and sections. Bob's credentials speak for themselves and exemplify excellence in all aspects of the sport of wrestling. The Upstate Chapter honors Bob with his induction into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

James Carrier - Outstanding American

Jim Carrier enjoyed a solid wrestling career at Sherburne-Earlville High School under the tutelage of Hall of Fame Coach (2009) Pete Hausrath. Coach Hausrath states that, "Jim was a true team leader and one of the hardest working wrestlers that we had in the wrestling room. He exemplified and was guided by our motto of "Pride, Loyalty and Fortitude".

Following graduation from Colgate in 1984 Jim embarked on a successful career in investment management at Edgewood Management in New York City, and worked to promote several humanitarian causes in the country. Jim contributes his successes to the important core values taught to him by his supportive family and the lessons that were conveyed to him during his high school wrestling career at Sherburne-Earlville. It was also at this time that Carrier began to look at ways that he could help to promoted the welfare of others.

Jim decided to focused his energies in caring for what he considers, "our nation's most precious resource, our nation's military personnel and veterans." While working to pursue his lofty goals Jim has been the recipient of the Navy's 2006 Bob Hope Spirit of Hope Award given for "his unrelenting enthusiastic support to Naval Special Warfare and the United States Military." In May of 2008 Carrier received the Superior Public Service Award, the second highest award attainable by a civilian, for his contributions honoring our nation's military heroes through his efforts serving on several boards. These contributions include serving as the Commandant's Guest of Honor at a Marine Corps Sunset Parade in Arlington National Cemetery, being the founder of the Veterans Appreciation Council in Greenwich, serving on the Board of Trustees of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, working as a trustee for the Fisher House Foundation, and serving as a Blue and Gold Officer for the United States Naval Academy.

Jim is married to Deborah "Freddie" Carrier and they presently reside in Greenwich, Connecticut where they continue to be actively engaged in matters supporting the courageous men and women who serve in our nation's military. It is with great honor that we recognize James Carrier with the Outstanding American honor at our 20th annual ceremony.