National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Latino American Wrestling Experience

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8 | NATIONAL WRESTLING HALL OF FAME & MUSEUM LATINO WRESTLING EXPERIENCE Wrestled 1973-1975 University of Washington 190lbs RICHARD I. CALDERON Richard Calderon spent two seasons wrestling for the University of Washington Huskies program, though he ultimately got his degree from hometown institution, San Jose State University in 1978. During the 1970s, the Husky program reached its apogee under the leadership of Coach Jim Smith; crowning national champions Larry Owings in1970 and Bill Murdock in 1972. During the first half of that decade, Washington grapplers were a dominant power in the Pacific 8, winning the conference title three times and finishing second twice. In addition, the squad also became a force at the NCAA tournament, earning as high as a fourth-place finish in 1972 against the most elite teams in collegiate wrestling. It clearly looked as if the program was developing into a competitor of national significance. At this point, however, tragedy struck, as a van carrying half of the team was involved in a serious accident, and most of the athletes on board were never able to wrestle again. Not surprisingly, the Huskies' depth declined dramatically, and so did the team's results. By 1980, a program that had once seemed on the cusp of great achievements at both the conference and national level was axed by the University's administration. One of the men who contributed to the success during the early 1970s was Calderon, who was a graduate of Overfelt High School in San Jose, and had wrestled at San Jose City College, twice earning junior college All-America honors and winning the California State Junior College championship before moving to Washington. His most significant contribution came in 1974, when he finished fourth at 190 pounds at the NCAA tournament, pinning Bill Shuffstall of Slippery Rock in a consolation bracket match. That season, the Huskies finished a very respectable sixth at the championships. After graduation with a degree in Physical Education, Calderon embarked on a career in law enforcement with the San Jose Police Department that lasted from 1978 through 2008. He has since moved on to work as a financial advisor with a large insurance firm. CALDERON WAS PART OF A SQUAD THAT BECAME A FORCE AT NATIONALS, EARNING AS HIGH AS A 4TH PLACE FINISH (1972) IN COMPETITION WITH THE MOST ELITE TEAMS IN COLLEGIATE WRESTLING.

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