NWCA announces annual Meritorious Service and Dan Gable ‘America Needs Wrestling’ Award winners
St. Louis, Missouri — The National Wrestling Coaches Association has announced its annual winners for the Meritorious Service Award and the Dan Gable “America Needs Wrestling” Award.
Darrell Randall and Kirk Hankla are the recipients of the NWCA’s Meritorious Service Award, the highest honor presented by the organization, while Tom Sculley and Amanda Dahl were named the Dan Gable “America Needs Wrestling” Award.
A member of the NWCA’s Board of Directors for 20 years, Randall is the primary architect of the NWCA’s Strategic Plan, which has led to the addition or reinstatement of over 160 college wrestling teams since 2001. Randall is also a board member for the Wrestlers in Business Network.
“When we were just a small non-profit trying to promote and add opportunities for our wrestlers nationwide, Darrell Randall was there,” said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. “Darrell has been such an integral part of our organization and he’s always been a guy who’s been there but didn’t get the recognition he deserved for everything he’s been able to do for us as an organization and as a sport. I’m beyond honored to be able to recognize who is such a valuable asset to our sport.”
One of the NWCA’s main initiatives is providing training and education to ready wishful college and high school wrestling coaches with the skills they need outside of the wrestling room to become CEO’s of their wrestling programs through the NWCA’s CEO Leadership Academy.
Hankla has been a key advisor with the Leadership Academy and NWCA’s strategic communications and public relations strategies.
“With the growth of college wrestling, especially at levels outside of Division I, we have to ensure our new programs get on great footing with a trained coach who knows not only how to teach men and women on the mats, but to be able to understand how to work with administrators and faculty,” said Moyer. “What Kirk has been able to do is provide our organization the valuable knowledge so we can approach schools with viable candidates, but so those schools actually know we are out there willing and able to assist them in their job searches and placement of coaches who have gone through our CEO Leadership Academy.”
The NWCA honors Sculley and Dahl with the Dan Gable “America Needs Wrestling” Award. This award is to recognize those individuals who have given significant time and effort to the sport of wrestling. Those efforts must have had significant impact on the preservation or promotion of the sport.
Sculley, currently a Managing Partner at Outer Circle Sports, was a 1974 NCAA Division I Champion for Lehigh and is widely credited for for helping rejuvenate a Lehigh wrestling program in the 70s.
A graduate of Bethlehem Catholic High School in Pennsylvania, Sculley has been a constant presence in the sport of wrestling working with the adidas wrestling brand. He’s also a member of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
Sculley’s organizations have long been instrumental and extremely generous in providing start-up funds for many of the new intercollegiate programs started in the past 20 years.
“There really isn’t enough that can be said about the impact of Tom Sculley,” said Moyer. “He’s been someone we as a sport and we as an organization have always been able to turn to and he’s always come through. When you think about people who embody what this award is about, Tom Sculley’s name is one of the top names to list.”
Dahl has been active in the promotion of wrestling since her days as a student working in Iowa State’s Athletic Communications department. Currently the Associate Athletics Communications Director and Supervisor for Wrestling at Purdue, Dahl is one of the top professionals who goes above and beyond to promote wrestling.
“We’re very gracious and privileged to have Amanda as part of our sport,” said Moyer. “Her organizational skills and her desire not only to promote wrestling, but her passion for the sport spreads to everyone around her. She is continually trying to find ways to enhance the sport through the use of statistical data”.
Dahl was also a key factor in promoting the NAIA National Wrestling Championships during her time with the organization, drawing in more regional and national media to cover the event and researching historical records to further help member schools promote their programs. Her work with promoting the Purdue program is setting a new standard for all programs to follow.