Hall of Fame wrestler Gene Mills will be a guest speaker at the 2019 induction banquet of the Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame on May 4.
Dennis Siegmann, a Bristol Central legend and 2003 Bristol Sports Hall of Fame inductee, is one of the six being enshrined.
“It’s a great honor, especially for this Hall of Fame,” Siegmann said after this year’s inductees were announced last summer. “It’s a big deal because it’s connected to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. There are some pretty famous people in that Hall of Fame. You get a plaque on the wall down there, which is pretty significant. It’s pretty cool.”
Mills, a two-time World Cup champion and two-time NCAA champion who holds a career record of 1,356-46-1, was a four-time All-American at Syracuse, head coach for the Orange’s wrestling program for 17 years and was member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team that did not participate in the Moscow games due to a boycott.
His speech will be part of the induction of six members from the Connecticut community into the Hall of Fame.
Siegmann was the Rams’ wrestling coach for 23 years, leading the program to two state Class L championships (1985, 1998) and 11 league titles. The 1985 team had six individual state champions.
Siegmann posted a record of 348-109-12 and coached three All-Americans, 11 State Open champions and 31 individual state Class L champs. He also served as the girls track coach for the Rams.
Siegmann, who also spent six years at two junior colleges that won four national championships, retired from coaching in 1999 to become the Bristol Central principal.
He and Mills are both members of an Oklahoma Hall of Fame - Siegmann a member of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame; Mills is in the Oklahoma National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
The other five Hall of Fame inductees are:
• Colonel Charles Anderson, who received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart while serving in the Connecticut Army National Guard for more than 30 years and was the head coach at both Trumbull High and Norwalk High;
• John Bennett, coach, official and four-time member of the U.S. Veterans World team;
• Patrick Burns, former New Milford coach, official and CIAC wrestling committee member;
• Carmen DelVecchio, a top official in New England and in the nation; and
• Jason Shaughnessy, former Fairfield Warde and Fairfield High coach and founder/coach with the Police Athletic League youth wrestling program in Fairfield.
Zack Carpenter can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org