Former OSU wrestler works six Olympic games

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Anna Weeks, Sports Chief

Oregon native, OSU graduate Greg Strobel still involved in wrestling.

Q&A with Greg Strobel

When did you first become interested in wrestling and how did you get started? 

My three older brothers and younger brother all wrestled, so I grew up wrestling them before I even started school. But, I didn’t go out for wrestling until my 9th grade year. Since I had already been wrestling my brothers I was pretty good right away. I lost one match in each of my 9th, 10th and 11th grades. I won the state tournament three times.

Tell me about your time at OSU. 

I was in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. I majored in business for three years and then changed my major to business education so I could become a teacher. I got an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, so I stayed at Oregon State as a GA and got a master’s degree in business education. I was not a starter right away my first year, but by December I was the starter. I lost two matches as a freshman and five as a sophomore. I didn’t lose any matches my junior and senior year.

What is your favorite OSU memory? 

Wow…favorite memory. This is a tough one. I have a lot of great memories at Oregon State. I loved the social life with the SAEs and really liked being on the wrestling team. We placed 2nd in the NCAAs in the National Tournament at the University of Washington in 1973. I was named the Outstanding Wrestler in that tournament. We had four OSU guys in the finals. That might be my favorite memory.

How did OSU prepare you after college? 

I came in as a shy country bumpkin from Scappoose, Ore. Our coach, Dale Thomas, helped me to overcome my shyness by making me talk in public, including making me be the guest speaker at banquets and to faculty groups. With a BS and Me.D degrees, my first teaching job was at Roseburg High School. I taught business courses and was the head wrestling coach. All of this was possible because of the education I received at OSU and the guidance from Coach Dale Thomas.

Describe your time coaching in the Olympics.  

I worked at six Olympic Games, 1984 through 2004, in various roles. 1984 as the National Teams Director. 1988 I was the team leader for the Greco Roman team. 1992 a volunteer coach, 1996 the assistant Olympic coach, 2000 as a co-head coach and 2004 as a volunteer coach. I really enjoyed all the Olympics but I think Seoul and Sidney were the best times. I was in Seoul for a month and worked with both freestyle and Greco Roman. I was still in pretty good shape, so I actually trained with some of the athletes. 1996 was also special because fellow Oregon Stater Les Gutches was on the team.

Could you describe the atmosphere of the Olympics? 

I loved the atmosphere in the Olympic Villages. The dining halls were open 24/7 and had a huge selection and variety of foods. Opening and closing ceremonies are really cool when you get to march in with your team and the American flag out front. I enjoyed seeing, and in some cases, visiting with “famous” athletes.

What have you been up to since? What are you doing now?  

I coached high school at Roseburg and was an assistant coach at Oregon State for three years, was the National Teams Director at USA Wrestling for eight years, coached at Foxcatcher for four years, coached at Lehigh University for 13 years and currently I am an assistant Athletics Director at Lehigh. Currently, I am also on the Board of Directors of USA Wrestling, the Commissioner of the EIWA Conference and I’m an NCAA Official Reviewer and Evaluator. So…still involved with wrestling.

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