Competitors Hall of Fame: Fred Brown

Hall of Fame – 1982

Mr. Brown is one of the NSWCA’s mystery men. A select member of a special four-time state champion’s club Fred is unaware of his membership in this Hall of Fame as he has never been located. Brown earned his four gold medals in the years 1947 to 1950 while wrestling for Omaha Technical. The only loss any former wrestler or coach can recall was a loss to a wrestler from Council Bluff’s Abe Lincoln High School on a disqualification for an illegal takedown in the first period that dislocated his opponent’s elbow. Many recount Brown as being one of the best high school wrestlers they have ever seen. His strength and quickness made him one of the most aggressive pinners the sport has seen in this state.

As one of the 16 charter members of the NSWCA Hall of Fame, Mr. Brown’s plaque was held due to the fact that we were unable to locate him for that evening’s festivities, March 20, 1982. The plaque was taken by Joe Scarpello who promised to try and locate him. About 3 years ago Coach Greg Wilcox (Hall’95) found it in a box at Omaha South and mailed it to our office. Vern Ekfelt (Charter Member) located him in Omaha in 1995 but was lost again until Curlee Alexander “found” him and had him hand out medals at the North invitational. At long last we are able to make this presentation to Nebraska’s 2nd four-time State Champ. Coming into the Hall with such “greats” (in the category of competitor) as Steve Ravenscroft, 3x State Champ and All American from Valentine; Herb Reese, Nebraska’s first four-time State Champ and 3x Big 8 Champ; Joe Scarpello, 3x State Champ, 4x Big 10 Champ, and National AAU Heavyweight Champ of Omaha; and Mike DiBiase (deceased) 2x StateChamp, 3x Big 8 Champ of Omaha Tech, Mr. Brown’s bio read, “Fred Brown, Unknown. A four-time State Champ, losing only one match in his career. Fred ranks as one of the best Nebraska high school wrestlers.” The ‘one loss’ was against Frank DiBlasi of Abraham Lincoln in Council Bluffs. Fred had taken Frank down, put a chicken wing on him, heard him holler, felt the ref tap him and heard him disqualify him because the hold was too high and it had dislocated Frank’s elbow. Nominated by Beau Haizlip (Hall ’84), recalled Fred as being “very strong and quick. One of his strong points was pinning and being aggressive.” And being aggressive is what it takes to capture the First Place Crown four years running: 1947 at 85 lbs, 1948 at 95 lbs., 1949 at 105 lbs. and 1950 at 112 lbs. Fred wrestled every chance he could get in those days: for Winfield Raglin, who had established the first wrestling club in Omaha, in AAU meets, while in the Army in Special Services, winning all tournaments he entered. He also enjoyed coaching in the ‘60’s at Kellom Community School. He was always pleased to see these young people go on to high schools in the area where they won more honors in wrestling. One of his most vivid memories is a match against Richard Nigro from Omaha Central, who was a State Champ. Nigro weighed 115 lbs. and Fred went against him weighing 95 lbs. – and of course Fred won the match!! As one of the four 4x State Champs that opened the finals ceremony at State in 1996, Fred was overwhelmed at the changes that have taken place since 1950. His plaque is presented by Roger Barry, NSWCA Hall of Fame Charter Member.

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