Hall of Fame – 1991
A man of many talents, Curlee Alexander could qualify as a coach as well as a competitor. Omaha Tech and Omaha North are on the boards three times since 1978 when Curlee’s teams stacked up their State Titles. But as a competitor, where began laying the foundation, he wrestled four years at Omaha Tech from 1961-1965 when he picked up the runner-up title his senior year. He chose UNO as his college and it was there that he exploded onto the wrestling scene in style! He was a four time All-American taking 4th in 1966, 6th in 1967, 3rd in 1968 and 1st in 1969. He was NAIA National Champ at 115 lbs. and holds a collegiate record of 64-14-1. During his junior year, collecting a 3rd place, he came up against Ken Melchoire, an NCAA Champ, and the athlete taking second at that meet went on to fill a berth on the Olympic Team that year. That 3rd place medal ranks right up there with the golds this gentleman has collected.
Curlee recalls the caliber of wrestling in his college years was “intense”. Two matches that stand out in his mind in Division II for the championship was wrestling an opponent with a similar name, Curd Alexander, and wrestling Don Eay of Lockhaven, an undefeated wrestler and one of the outstanding wrestlers in the nation at that time. While at UNO Curlee was a member of teams that finished runner-up twice. Team members such as Mel Washington (Hall of Fame, ’90), Bernie Hospodka, Wendell Hackensen, and others provided the firepower for duals that outdrew football and basketball games. A dual with Wayne State boasted a standing room only crowd of over 4,000 at the Field House on UNO’s campus.
Curlee sees changes in wrestling over the years. He can recall diligently searching for a place to work out in the off-season. Now young wrestling hopefuls can join any one of many fine wrestling clubs for experience. Training now starts as early as seven or eight years old and the real enthusiasts tend to zero in on one sport. The numbers are decreasing but Coach Alexander claims to have always worked with small numbers and it has paid off in three State Championship Team Titles: Omaha Tech in 1978, and 1985 and 1990 at Omaha North. Two runners-up, two thirds and two fourths round out notable state finishes.
He was Metro Coach of the Year four times (’78, ’84, ’85, and ’90), inducted into the UNO Hall of Fame in 1986, and NSWCA Class A Coach of the Year in 1990. “Wrestling is hard work,” says Curlee,”but, it pays off with many dividends.” Winning the NAIA National Tournament at 115 lbs and winning the 1978 State Wrestling Team Championship as the coach for his alma mater number high on that dividend list.