From the legendary Granby High School in Norfolk, Virginia, the path to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for Elliot Gray Simons included some unbelievable feats of wrestling, but it didn’t start off with immediate accolades.
Simons would win a state championship for Hall of Fame coach Billy Martin before enrolling at tiny Lock Haven State Teachers College. There, Simons would dominate the college wrestling world, becoming the first wrestler in history to win four NAIA national titles and was the first to win four collegiate national championships across any division. He would also win three NCAA titles, battling with some of the titans of the sport, including future members of the Hall of Fame.
Seven is the story of one of America’s great wrestling minds – a stellar athlete with two Olympic appearances – and a dynamic technical mind – delivering next-level techniques learned at Granby and tweaked for the college wrestling world.
Episode 1: Unrolling Granby chronicles Simons’ start back in Virginia and his journey to Lock Haven, his first NCAA title and his first appearance at the Olympic Games in Rome.
About Gray Simons (From NWHOF.com)
During his four years of collegiate competition at Lock Haven University, Gray Simons entered seven national tournaments. He won all seven, and six times was voted outstanding wrestler of the event.
Four years he reigned supreme at 115 pounds in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, and all four years was chosen the NAIA's finest, an unparalleled achievement. Three times he won the University Division title in the NCAA and as a junior and senior was voted the outstanding competitor.
The only collegiate defeat in his 90 collegiate matches came in his freshman season. He then proceeded to win 84 in a row, a record at the time.
In the two years after his graduation, while stationed at the U.S. Military Academy, he continued to annex national championships in military, YMCA and AAU competition. He won the gold medal in the 1963 World Military Games.
Gray Simons twice represented his country in the Olympic Games, in 1960 and 1964.
On the mat, he was known as a superb technician, with quickness, skill and perfect execution of an infinite variety of moves. His abilities helped spread nationwide the “Granby Series” of moves developed by his Hall of Fame high school coach in Norfolk, Virginia, Billy Martin.
After the close of his competitive career, he served with distinction as a collegiate coach at Lock Haven, Indiana State, Tennessee and Old Dominion University, and never has suffered a losing season. Among his proteges were two NCAA champions and several All-Americans.
In both roles, as a wrestler and coach, this quiet man has set an outstanding example for young athletes everywhere.
As a wrestler of unchallenged achievement and a sportsman of the highest caliber, Elliot Gray Simons is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Show written and produced by Jason Bryant, Mat Talk Online
Amateur Wrestling News, Volumes 4-5, 1959-1960
Wrestlers at the Trials, James V. Moffatt, 2007
The Granby Roll, J.W. “Johnny” Brown, 2008
Music Provided by Envato Elements.