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Roethler To Be Inducted Into Wrestling Hall Of Fame

By Staff | Apr 1, 2010

HALL?OF?FAMER - Bob Roethler will be inducted into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame during ceremonies set for Monday, April 12, in Cresco. As the leader of the Emmetsburg E’Hawk wrestling program, Roethler’s wrestlers amassed a record of 77-7-1 during his tenure. -- Dan Voigt photo

Emmetsburg’s own Bob Roethler will be one of four native Iowans who will be enshrined in the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame Foundation, Monday, April 12. The ceremonies will be held at the Cresco Country Club starting at 5:30 p.m.

The Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame Foundation was created in 1970 and since then, the membership of the elite Hall of Fame fraternity has grown to 96. The Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame Foundation honors native Iowans who have made major contributions to amateur wrestling as an athlete, coach, official or contributor. Inducted members are permanently displayed with picture and profile at the Welcome Center and Chamber of Commerce building in Cresco.      

Thumbnail sketches of this year’s honorees follow. 

BOB ROETHLER has been referred to as the guiding force that introduced Emmetsburg’s E’Hawks to the rolls of the elite wrestling schools in the history of Iowa high school wrestling. In the process of doing so, Roethler and the E’Hawks did more than their fair share to rewrite wrestling history.

Roethler wrestled at Central of Elkader in high school and moved on to wrestle at Loras in college, After graduating, he started he career as a coach at  St. Edmond High School in  Fort Dodge before he journeyed north to become the leader of the Emmetsburg program.

His E-Hawk teams went 77-7-1 and won consecutive team titles in 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979, the second coach in IHSAA annals to win four straight state titles. The accomplishment was the first such achievement for a high school wrestling team in  58 years, and has only been equalled twice since then.

From 1974-78 the E-Hawks had 63 consecutive dual meet wins. Among his protégées was four-time undefeated state champion Jeff Kerber. 

Despite suffering a stroke in the prime of his career, Roethler exhibited the iron will and desire to battle back. Roethler came back to lead the wrestling program in Graettinger for several years before joining the housing and counseling staff at Iowa Lakes Community College in Emmetsburg.

However, Roethler, along with his wife Kathy, continues their involvement in wrestling at Emmetsburg. Roethler continues to volunteer his knowledge and love of the sport with the E’Hawk wrestling program as a volunteer assistant coach.

Roethler was inducted to the Iowa High School Athletic Association’s Hall of Fame in 1991, and has also been inducted into the National High School Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998.

Also being inducted with Roethler is Mike Chapman.  A prolific author and historian, he is the third non-wrestler to be honored with Hall of Fame induction. A native of Waterloo, Iowa has devoted 40 years of life promoting wrestling. He has been named National Wrestling Writer of the Year five times, by four different wrestling organizations and the author of 15 wrestling books. He is also the creator and executive director of the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum in Waterloo. In addition to the books and videos about the sport Chapman is the creator of WIN magazine and the Dan Hodge Trophy (considered the Heisman Trophy of Wrestling). 

Wrestling legend Mark Ironside will also be inducted on April 12. Ironside enjoyed a successful high school career at Cedar Rapids Jefferson where he earned third in the State Meet as a sophomore before grabbing back-to-back state titles in 1991 and 1992, for a career mark of 106-5-1. His aggressive style grew at University of Iowa where he posted a 127-10 career record and a journey that saw him win four Big 10 titles, become a four time NCAA qualifier and a back-to-back champion in 1997 and 1998. He was the winner of the winner of the Dan Hodge Trophy as he closed his career with 66 straight wins with 101 wins in his final 103 matches. 

Rounding out the 2010 class of inductees is Jason Smith. An Ankeny native, Smith did not begin wrestling until his freshman year in high school, but he eventually became a two-time finalist at the State Tournament. He was 16-4 as a sophomore and 22-1 as a junior, when he was runner-up. He was invincible as a senior going 27-0 with 25 wins coming by falls. His state title was the first-ever for Ankeny and came with consecutive falls with no opponent lasting beyond the second period.  At Iowa State he was an integral part of the Cyclones’ mat success. After finishing third in the NCAA as a sophomore he helped the team win national titles in 1969 and 1970 while also winning his  back to back crowns at 167-lbs. He is now a practicing physician in Chicago, IL