Ex-Dodger gets Hall call
DES MOINES – Joe Zuspann was once again surrounded by state champions on Saturday night.
The 1974 Fort Dodge Senior High graduate was inducted into the Iowa High School Athletic Association Wrestling Hall of Fame on Saturday night before the state finals.
“I’m very excited (to be inducted into the Hall of Fame),” Zuspann said. “”I wrestled from the time I was a little kid, and to be beside people like Dan Gable, Cael Sanderson and my old head coach Harold Nichols is quite an honor.
“The finals (in Iowa), with the fans and excitement in front of a sold crowd is unbelievable. It’s a place where kids have worked for years to get their and realize their dreams. It’s very electrifying.”
Zuspann was a standout at FDSH, where he won the state title at 138 pounds his senior year and finished second as a sophomore. He was also third as a junior.
Zuspann was also a three-time participant in the national freestyle competition and earned high school All-American status in 1974.
After high school, Zuspann went on to compete at Iowa State, where he was a three-time All-American and three-time top four finisher at the NCAA tournament. His his 1977 runner-up showing helped the Cyclones to the national title.
Zuspann was also twice invited to the U.S. Olympic Trials.
After competitive wrestling, Zuspann went into coaching. He was an assistant at Iowa State and Rhode Island before moving to Lawton, Okla., where he developed their prep program into a statewide powerhouse.
“We were very successful, winning three state championships and the high school national title in 1993,” Zuspann said.
Zuspann was joined inside Wells Fargo Arena by his brothers, childhood friends and other family members.
Kenny also inducted
Former Emmetsburg head coach Bob Kenny was also named a Hall of Fame honoree Saturday.
Kenny, who is currently the athletics director at Mason City, retired in 2006 with a 20-year career dual meet record of 289-123-1. Kenny had stops in Maquoketa Valley and Estherville before amassing a 227-33-1 record at Emmetsburg.
Kenny’s E-Hawks won six traditional state meets and added a runner-up finish. In addition, he directed two state dual team champions and two other squads who were second.
All total, he coached 88 state qualifiers with 56 medalists and 12 champs.