Jorgensen in Hall of Fame
Longtime Imlay wrestling coach, publisher, athlete earns Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award at MSU
May 26, 2010IMLAY CITY — On and off the mats, Imlay City's Randy Jorgensen has made significant contributions to the world of wrestling and, on Sunday, he was publicly thanked for his dedication to the sport. Jorgensen was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and presented with the Lifetime Service to Wrestling award during the 2010 Michigan Honors Banquet in East Lansing.
Jorgensen wrestled in high school and college, was an assistant coach at Imlay City for more 20 years, participated in several youth cultural exchanges and served as the Michigan editor of the national magazine, Wrestling USA, for seven years.
"Considering all that Randy has done, not only coaching, but the other things he's done to promote the sport through publishing and journalism, he was a natural choice to receive this award," said Mychal Grenawalt, president of the board of directors for the Hall of Fame, Michigan chapter.
"Wrestling has been a big part of my life for a very long time now. To receive this level of recognition for doing something you enjoy is special," Jorgensen said of receiving the award.
"It was especially nice to get this honor since my college coach Jare Klein was inducted as a hall of famer in 2007. Coach Klein is a very special man to me."
Klein, along with Jorgensen's high school football and wrestling coaches, attended the May 23 ceremony.
Jorgensen's name was on the roster at Olivet College from 1974-77 when the program boasted two national records for consecutive wins.
His first job out of college was as head coach at Central Montcalm High School for three years. Jorgensen then came to Imlay City where he was an assistant with head coach Ken Day in the Spartan program from 1981-2004.
"I missed a couple of years in the mid-80s, but otherwise Ken and I were a team. Those were fun days. I think I introduced a level of wrestling these kids wouldn't have had otherwise," he said.
From seeing his son, Keil and nephew, Nick Campbell, wrestle through the Imlay City program to being a part of the talented and successful 1997 and 2001 teams, Jorgensen said his career highlights are numerous.
"Coaching is a passion, coaching your son is unforgettable...although there were times the poor guy never got a break from wrestling or me" Jorgensen said.
Also ranking high on his list were the opportunities to interact with young wrestlers from across the globe. He was a coach on the first U.S. Cadet team to travel to Bulgaria in 1995 and made a second overseas trip with the cadet team in 2000 to Germany with Keil. Imlay City's wrestling program hosted teams from Brazil in 1999 and Germany in 2001 and 2003.
"It was amazing to meet these kids from all over the world," Jorgensen said.
He's also had the pleasure of interviewing other wrestling greats for Wrestling USA—Olympic gold medalists Dan Gable and Rulon Gardner, Olympic and world champion freestyle wrestler Dave Schultz, the infamous John DuPont and many others.
"Wrestling promotes mental toughness, courage, discipline, determination and self-confidence," Jorgensen said.
In the professional world, he said he's "called on all those lessons learned from wrestling on more than one occasion." Jorgensen is president of Page One, Inc. which publishes Tri-City Times and Woods-N-Water News and operates Page One Printing Co.
Jorgensen said he's grateful to his family, friends and fellow Imlay City coaches and supporters.
"Imlay City wrestling is very close to my heart."
He's also grateful to wife, Kim, who has always supported his "wrestling habit."
Jorgensen said he was thrilled to see 20 of his former Central Montcalm and Imlay City wrestlers attend his induction ceremony.
Others recognized at Sunday's induction were Robert Threloff, Bernie Gonzales, Jack Provencal, Ruel McPherson and Dave Porter.
"There are many who deserve this honor. There are far better wrestlers and better coaches. All I know is I gave it all I had for all my wrestlers, every practice, every match," he said.
Later this year Jorgensen will be enshrined at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Maria Brown joined the Tri-City Times staff in 2003, the same year she earned a bachelor's degree in English from Calvin College. Born and raised in Imlay City, she now resides north of Capac where she enjoys working on the farm, gardening and reading.