Competitors Hall of Fame: Don O’Connor

Hall of Fame – 1987

We will find this distinguished gentlemen’s name each and every year in the state wrestling program, fourth in the elite list of three-time state champions. Capturing his titles in 1935 at 105, 1936 at 115 and 1937 at 125 proves his wrestling ability. Wrestling for Omaha South and collecting only three losses in four years, Don recalls defeating “one of the famous Knight brothers” in 1937 as one of his greatest moments. His opponent was known for his figure four which Don was “fortunately” able to avoid in the seven straight minutes they wrestled in those days, thus winning the match, much to his opponent’s coach’s dissatisfaction as he had a little wager riding on the outcome. Branching into the coaching aspect of wrestling when he was a senior, this talented young man assisted Omaha South Coach Joe Reeves. South concluded the season with a winning record and competitor/coach O’Connor was presented with a Waltham watch from the team, a sacrifice for those “depression day kids”. Recalling state tournaments with practically no fans, Mr. O’Connor remembers pride in their accomplishments because of the sport itself and the winning for the win itself, two worthy traits in evidence today. For additional competitions South wrestlers traveled to Fort Dodge, Carroll and Hamburg, Iowa.

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