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Etched in Stone, the stories of wrestling’s legends will take you inside the lives of over 170 of the greatest wrestlers in history as they share their never-before-told stories about their trials, tribulations and triumphs, competitors, coaches, teammates, and those who knew these athletes best will also weigh in on their accomplishments with their own unique perspectives.

Feb 20, 2024

After leaving the place he’d help establish as a national wrestling power, Gray Simons spent five seasons at Indiana State as the Sycamores’ head coach prior to taking over his first “big school” - the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. While sports-crazy, Tennessee was still new to the wrestling game. Gray Simons and a talented recruiter named Steve Gaydosh wouldn’t just change Tennessee’s fortunes - they would turn Tennessee into a waking giant in college wrestling.

As programs started to fall around them, Tennessee held strong, as did its athletes, overcoming some severe adversity on their way to stardom. Gray Simons and company were building something special on Rocky Top.

Episode 4: Building Up Rock Top

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About Gray Simons

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 two defeats of his 93 collegiate matches came early in his freshman season. He then proceeded to win 84 in a row.

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.