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When wrestlers, coaches, media and fans gather to talk about the G.O.A.T. at Lehigh University, the conversation always includes Mark Lieberman. Combining all styles, he is considered the Mountain Hawks’ greatest overall wrestler. A 1979 Sports Illustrated article described Mark as “the guttiest and the best” college wrestler that year.
He was a two-time undefeated NCAA champion at 177 pounds in 1978 and 1979 after a runner-up finish in 1977 at 167. He is part of another special wrestling family with his brother, Mike, winning the NCAA championship for Lehigh in 1975 at 177 pounds.
Mark was the first four-time EIWA champion in school history, pinning a tournament record 12 of 16 opponents. In his senior year, he swept the EIWA’s major awards, winning the Outstanding Wrestler Trophy, the Sheridan Trophy for most falls and the Fletcher Award for scoring the most team points in his career. He still holds Lehigh records for season falls (16), career falls (43) and most bonus points in a season (95.2% of his matches in 1979).
Wrestling for the New York Athletic Club, he was an AAU national champion in 1977 and won the U.S. Wrestling Federation national championship in 1978, 1979 and 1980. Lieberman won a gold medal at the World Cup in 1978 and a silver medal in 1979. He won the Pan Am Wrestling Championships in 1977. He pinned his idol, 1976 Olympic gold medalist and Distinguished Member John Peterson, in the finals of the National Open in 1978 to earn the Outstanding Wrestler Award, the Most Falls Award, the U.S. Wrestling Federation Grand Champion Award and 1978 Athlete of the Year. He also defeated Distinguished Members Wade Schalles, Chris Campbell and Ed Banach in freestyle competition. The 1980 Olympic boycott cost him a chance at an Olympic medal.
Helping launch the Blair Academy (New Jersey) freestyle program, he won the AAU Junior World national championship in 1974 and 1975 and was the U.S. Wrestling Federation Junior national champion in 1973. Three times Lieberman won the National Independent Schools championship (National Preps) from 1972-1974 and was outstanding wrestler twice. Mark was inducted into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches' Hall of Fame in 1987, the Roger S. Penske/Lehigh Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994, the EIWA Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Blair Academy Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017.
For excelling in collegiate and international wrestling during his record-setting career, Mark Lieberman is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Bio by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.