Competitors Hall of Fame: Joe Scarpello

Hall of Fame – 1982

A three time state champion for Omaha Central from 1940-1942 Scarpello was never taken down during a high school match. Mr. Scarpello impressed many his senior season as he was crowned the National AAU Champion in the heavyweight division in New Orleans. Scarpello may have had a fair amount of motivation as he recalls his high school coach Allie Morrison sending him off with this message: “If you don’t win—don’t come back.”

After his prep career he joined the Air Force before enrolling in the University of Iowa where he was a four time Big Ten Conference champion. An alternate to Glen Brand in the 1948 Olympics. One of the matches between Brand and Scarpello which Joe won 11-5 is still used by many coaches across the country as the epitome of great wrestling.

Scarpello joined the professional wrestling ranks and was the World Light-Heavyweight Champion in only his second year. Teamed with Vern Gagne, Scarpello earned a world tag team title in the early 1960’s. He is a member of the Helms Hall of Fame and the National Hall of Fame. He was a professional wrestler for 27 years and as of 1982 was still active.

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