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Bill Scherr receives honor

June 30, 2014 by

South Dakota Sports Hall of Famer Bill Scherr, former Mobridge High athlete who now lives in Glendale, Ill. has been named the Myron Roderick Man of the Year by USA Wrestling, the national governing body for wrestling in the United States. This award recognizes an outstanding man for his contributions to the sport of wrestling.

The award is named in memory of the late Myron Roderick, one of the most influential figures in American wrestling history, a man who made an amazing impact as an athlete, college coach, administrator and visionary. Roderick was one of the founding fathers of USA Wrestling, developing from the U.S. Wrestling Federation of the late 1960s to what it has become today.

Scherr chaired the Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling (CPOW), an ad-hoc USA Wrestling committee formed to lead the successful American effort in keeping wrestling on the Olympic program. From the day of the IOC Executive Board vote on Feb. 12, 2013, through the IOC General Assembly vote in Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 8, 2013, Scherr was a major leader in the cause, both within the United States and on the international level.

“This was a committee which was led by its committee members. I feel a little guilty accepting this award, as it should be given to the committee as a whole. This is something all of the committee members can share in,” said Scherr during the award presentation in Madison, Wis.

Scherr ran weekly CPOW conference calls, which included 25 volunteer leaders from business and the wrestling community who volunteered to serve and helped guide the strategy and activities. CPOW included many of the biggest name leaders in the sport, as well as successful professionals within other walks of life. He also worked closely with USA Wrestling national staff, CPOW staff, consultants and other volunteers, all who worked together to execute the game plan set by leadership.CPOW raised $1.4 million for the cause in eight months, much of the funding solicited in the early days of the crisis.

Scherr developed the working structure of CPOW, which had three main areas of activity: international relations, public relations and Fundraising/Finance. In addition to serving as chair, Scherr was assigned to help oversee the international relations effort. He took a number of trips overseas and across the nation on behalf of CPOW and international wrestling. He was also an active spokesman for CPOW, appearing in press conferences and conducting interviews with numerous major international and national media.

“When this happened, USA Wrestling was of course under some attack. Just by being in this situation, people asked what is USA Wrestling doing and why did this happen, without understanding the situation. Rich Bender, Jim Ravannack and the leadership of USA Wrestling stepped up and formed this committee, and it went to work to solve the issue and got it done,” said Scherr.

He helped lead the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid as its director of sport and a board member and is the president of the board of its legacy organization, World Sport Chicago. In this role, Scherr developed numerous contacts within the international Olympic movement, which proved to be very valuable during the Keep Olympic Wrestling effort.

He has been active within USA Wrestling throughout most of his life as an athlete, coach and volunteer leader. He has served on USA Wrestling’s Board of Directors, and also been on a number of standing committees.

Scherr was a Women’s World Team Coach, helping guide the women’s freestyle team. Scherr was named USA Wrestling’s Women’s Coach of the Year in 2005.He has also been a club coach in the Chicago area, working with the Wildcat Wrestling Club and serving as an assistant coach at Northwestern University. During his competitive career, Scherr also served as an assistant coach at Indiana University.

He was inducted as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1998, after one of the most successful international wrestling careers in U.S. history.

Bill Scherr was a bronze medalist at 100 kg/220 lbs. at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, He was a 1985 World champion at 90 kg/198 lbs., then moved up in weight. He also won silver medals in the 1986 and 1989 World Championships and a bronze medal at 1987 World Championships. His five consecutive years winning World and Olympic medals for the United States is one of the longest medal streaks in American wrestling history.

He won a gold medal in the Pan American Games in 1987 and was World Grand Champion in 1989. He also won a key match in the dual meet against the Soviet Union to help lead the USA to team title at the 1990 Goodwill Games. Bill also won six national championships in freestyle and one in Greco-Roman.

He competed alongside his twin brother Jim Scherr, who was also a member of the 1988 U.S. Olympic team and won three World Championship medals for the USA. Jim Scherr later went on to serve as the CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Executive Director of USA Wrestling. Jim Scherr was also a leader on CPOW, focusing on international relations and serving in a key consulting role. Like Bill, Jim Scherr is a distinguished member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Bill Scherr was a three-time All-American at Nebraska, with a record of 133-8, and won the NCAA championship in 1984 at 190 pounds, just a few minutes after his twin brother, Jim, had won at 177. He was also a two-time South Dakota high school champion at Mobridge and won the Junior Nationals in 1980.

The first USA Wrestling Man of the Year was Rex Peery for 1970. The most recent Man of the Year was Jordan Burroughs for 2012. Bill’s twin brother James E. Scherr was the USA Wrestling Man of the Year in 1994.  For more information click on Bill Scherr.

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