Contributors Hall of Fame: Jerry Langdon

Hall of Fame – 1996

To contribute – to have a share in something, to make a contribution. In this case, Jerry Langdon began at an early age. Wrestling for Sidney High School in the very early days of this sport, he became their first State Champ in 1961 at 120 lbs. This was at a time when wrestling in the State Tournament had just moved from all one class (as in Class A) to two classes (as in Class A and Class B). The meet was held at Holdrege and 2nd year Coach Roger Barry, ( Hall Charter Member ’82) recalls one of his boys meeting up with this tough kid from Sidney. Gary Mousel was caught in a tight guillotine most of the 3rd period. Langdon won the match and Mousel walked off the mat shaking his head. Coach Barry commented, “You could have put your shoulders to the mat to end it.” Gary’s response was, “I was trying to!!”. Sidney went on to take the State Team crown, and moving up to Class A the next 2 yrs., Jerry picked up a 2nd and 3rd place state medal. He was a 3 year letterman at UNL and made more contributions: took 3rd & 4th in the Big 8 at 123 lbs., qualified 2x for the NCAA Tournament, took 3rd twice in the Great Plains Tournament, and 5th in the National AAU Freestyle Tournament in 1969, and worked with Newt Copple (Hall ’83) to promote freestyle wrestling through the AAU program in Lincoln. He became Lexington’s head coach in 1969. In his 5 yr. stint there , his teams placed in the Top Ten each year, taking first in 1972 and runner-up the following year. He sent 5 wrestlers to State Champ status with Tim Rimpley (Hall ’88) taking the title 3x. Moving to Sidney as head coach in ’77, he coached 2 yrs., taking Sidney to 8th place his first year and closing his career as head coach with an impressive record of 47-18-3. Presently assisting with the Sidney program, Jerry continues to share his love for the sport outside the walls of the practice room. He was a charter member of the NSWCA, and coached the AAU wrestling cultural exchange team to South America and Holland in ’72 and ’78. He was the founder of the Sidney Wrestling Club in ’78, District II Director for Nebraska Kids Wrestling 4 yrs., first person to announce live, play-by-play wrestling action of the Nebraska State Wrestling Tournament on Sidney’s KSID radio station, and hosted 3 cultural exchange teams in Sidney, one from Germany and two from Maine. He was USA Nebraska Kids Wrestling Man of the Year in ’92, contributed 2 sons to the wrestling program in Sidney, J.J. and Josh, who was a two-time State Champ. He also served as a foster parent for Jeremie Eckley, who became a 3x State Champ. Counting several memories as his biggest thrill, he remembers them (in chronological order) as winning the 1973 Class B State Wrestling Championship for Lexington, watching his foster son, Jeremie Eckley ,win 3 Class B State Champ titles and his winning the match of the century against Jason Dethlefs of Bennington in 1987, and privileged to be the assistant coach when his son Josh won his two State Champ Crowns, ending his high school career with two undefeated seasons at 72-0, which tied the longest winning streak at Sidney High School. In the words of Coach John Ganser of Sidney, who will introduce Jerry this evening, “As you can see, Jerry Langdon has contributed in many different ways to the promotion of high school wrestling in Nebraska over the past 35 years. Whether it is competing, coaching, filming or commentating, Jerry constantly lives and works for the good of wrestling.”

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