Walter O'Connell
Team: Yale, Cornell

      *WALTER O’CONNELL in 1907 began a historic 40-year stretch as Cornell head wrestling coach. His Big Red teams won unofficial National Championships three times in 1910, 1912 and 1923.  Including a year at Yale, where he was student-coach, and 39 years at Cornell, his teams captured 12 team titles (2nd-best in history) and 66 individual crowns in the EIWA Championships. He posted a career winning percentage of .627, including 24 top three finishes at the EIWA’s. Two of his wrestlers, George Dole and Charles Ackerly, won Olympic gold medals – Dole in 1908 and Ackerly in 1920. Another, Glenn Stafford, was an NCAA champion in 1929, the first ever from the East.

      A 1930 thesis on collegiate wrestling classified him as one of the four most influential coaches in the nation, along with Ed Gallagher, Charles Mayser and Billy Sheridan. O’Connell was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Cornell Athletic Hall of Fame in 1980. He died in 1948.