STILLWATER, Okla. – One of the greatest wrestlers in the history of the University of Pennsylvania, Brandon Slay W’98 was announced as an inductee into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016.
"It's a priceless honor to be selected as a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame," said Slay. "It creates a strong sense of thankfulness toward all the individuals who held me accountable to dreaming huge with integrity, consistency, and discipline along the journey. I owe a special thanks to the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Wrestling, and the network of Penn alumni for creating a culture of excellence where student-athletes desire to reach the peak in all their endeavors."
Slay will become the fourth Penn wrestler to be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as part of the NWHOF’s 40th Anniversary Honors Weekend to be held June 3-4 in Stillwater, Okla. He joins Richard DiBatista in the Distinguished Members wing, while David Pottruck and Josh Harris have been inducted into the Outstanding American wing.
“This group of extraordinary individuals has made a significant impact on the sport of wrestling,” said Lee Roy Smith, Executive Director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum. “It is our privilege to honor them, but, more importantly, we appreciate the opportunity each year when we get to let people know what each of these remarkable individuals has done.”
Slay won a gold medal for the United States at 167.5 pounds at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. He upset defending Olympic and World champion Buvaisar Satiev on his way to the finals, putting one of few blemishes on Satiev’s resume.
"Brandon's successes -- on the mat, as a student, as a coach, and as a family man -- are clear-cut examples of what we push our team towards every day," said Alex Tirapelle, Penn's head coach. "He has represented his country and University well during his wrestling career, and few are more-deserving of this honor than he."
As a Quaker, Slay was a two-time NCAA finalist and All-American – the first Quaker to reach the podium at NCAAs in 33 years. A four-time All-Ivy selection, Slay was a two-time EIWA champion and never finished lower than third at the EIWA Championships. Slay’s teams won three Ivy League championships – the first time Penn had won the Ivy League in 21 years. His efforts for the Red and Blue were recognized in 2008 with his induction into the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame -- where DiBatista and Pottruck are also enshrined.
In addition to Ivy League team success, Slay was a part of two EIWA Championship teams – including Penn’s historic run to the 1997 title on home mats of The Palestra as the Quakers scored a Championships-record 183.0 points. In 2009, Slay was inducted into the EIWA Hall of Fame.
"The Penn Wrestling community is delighted that Brandon has beenselected for induction into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame,” said Roger Reina, Slay’s coach at Penn and current Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs.“Brandon'stremendous NCAA accomplishments,competitively and through his leadership, led Penn Wrestling to national heights. Internationally, Brandon'sepic OT win over Satiev in Sydney stands as Saitiev's only Olympic loss in four Olympic Games and one of the greatest U.S. wins of all time.InSydney, Brandon posted another monumental but sometimes less remembered win, over Lalaev of Kazakhstan, the 2004 Olympic Silver medalist. We celebrate thistremendous honor, along with Brandon's family and friends, in recognition of his tremendous contributions to the sport of amateur wrestling."
Slay’s success was in no ways limited to collegiate competition. Starting with national freestyle and Greco-Roman championships during a year away from Penn’s team in 1995-96, Slay showed his prowess on the international scene.
He won the 2000 U.S. Open – the first Texas native to do so – and was named Outstanding Wrestler. A two-time University Nationals champion, two-time Espoir National Freestyle National champion, and four-time Junior National All-American Slay was also a two-time Cadet World medalist in Greco.
In freestyle, Slay would secure wins at the prestigious Dan Kolov, Five Continents Cup, Macedonia Pearl, and Dave Schultz International tournaments in addition to his Olympic gold.
Currently, Slay serves as the National Freestyle Resident Coach at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and works as the National development Coach for USA Wrestling where he has coached cadets and juniors to seven world championships and 19 total world medals over the past two years.