the year 2001 we were proud to announce the
formation of the USA Everett Wrestling Hall of Fame. This was done to
honor Ron Bessemer, the founding coach of the club and the original five members of the club who performed at extremely high levels on a
national and international level.
It is only fitting that the Hall of Fame start
out with the original five members of the team and the coach. This small but
powerful group started the tradition of success that carried on for years. USA Everett
was and is known far
and wide as one of the premier clubs, not just in the northwest but across the
nation. This success was due to the foundation that Ron created with the
original group of kids.
Ron Bessemer first became
involved with wrestling back in Elgin, Illinois when he turned out for his high
school wrestling team as a sophomore. It was his first experience with wrestling
and he managed to qualify to attend the state championships during his high
school career. After high school he joined the Army for a three year tour of
While in the service he was on a
Army soccer team but one day he saw a freestyle tournament going on. He had
never seen freestyle before and it fascinated him. It was the last tournament of
the year so he did not get to wrestle then but did start the next year and
wrestled for the Army team the next two years. After completing his Army duties
he moved to Portland, OR where he wrestled for the Multnonuh Wrestling Club. In
1960 he placed 3rd at the AAU National Open Championships and also placed third
at the Olympic Trials.
He went back to School and
received his Masters degree from Illinois State University in 1965. His degree
was in physical education and his first job was in Oregon where he taught for
one year. After on year he was offered the opportunity to start a new wrestling
program at Harper College near Chicago and he ran this program for the next six
years. During that time the team was ranked as high as 4th in the nation and he
had several individual national champs. Ron also officiated for freestyle on the
international level in the late ‘60's and early ‘70's.
In 1974 he moved on to start a
new program at Florissant Community College in St. Louis, MO and he was there
for three years. Ron was chosen to coach the University World Team at the World
University Championships in 1977. He served as the head Greco-Roman coach and
assistant freestyle coach. He was offered the job of Athletic Director of the
Everett School District in 1977 at which time he moved to Washington. Since he
was a school district administrator, he was not allowed to coach in the schools.
Since he wanted to stay involved with wrestling he created an informal team and
started working with a few of the local kids. He officially charted the club as
USA Everett in 1980. During this time Ron was also involved in officiating high
school and college wrestling and officiated at the NAIA National Championships
on two occasions. He also served as a coach to numerous Washington State Cadet
and Junior teams at the Nationals as well as the assistant Greco-Roman coach on
the 1997 USA Cadet World Team.
In 1981 the Athletic Director job
was so large that they split it into two positions. Ron became the head of
physical education and assistant to the AD. He continued in this capacity until
1997 at which time he became head of facilities and planning for the school
district. In 2000 Ron decided it was time to retire. He and his wife Arlie moved
to Mt. Olive, Illinois but wrestling is not over as Ron has already formed a new
club and the saga continues. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.
Brian Harper wrestled for Burlington Edison High
School and had a career record of 110-10. At the
Washington State High School Championships he placed 2nd and 1st. During that
time he also won the state Freestyle title four times and the Greco-Roman title
four times. His high school GPA was 3.5 and after graduating he attended the
University of Michigan. During his Michigan career he had finishes of 8th, 6th,
5th and 3rd at the Big 10 championships and was the NCAA runner-up in his weight
division. He has a wife Stephanie and a son Sean. Inducted into the Hall
of Fame in 2001.
Dan Alar wrestled for Burlington Edison High
School and had a career record of 114-7. At the Washington State High School
Championships he had a 2nd and two 1st. During that time he also won the state
Freestyle title and the Greco-Roman title four times each. His high school GPA
was 3.5 and after graduating he attended Oregon State University and place
second at the Pac-10 championships three times. His highest finish at the NCAA
Championships was fourth. At the Espoir National championships in Freestyle he
placed 3rd. He competed at the Espoir World Team Trials and he place 2nd in the
freestyle division. At the University Freestyle Nationals he placed 6th.
Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.
wrestled for Marysville Pilchuck High School and had a career record of 103-15.
At the Washington State High School Championships he had a 6th place and one
championship. During that time he also won the state Freestyle title and the
Greco-Roman title four times each. His high school GPA was 3.19 and after
graduating he attended Simon Frasier University in British Columbia and placed
third at the Canadian Greco-Roman Nationals. He finished 8th at the US Senior
Open Nationals and had a Masters level GPA of 3.89 during graduate school. His
wife is Catherine and he has a son named Hunter and a daughter named Emily.
Boyd Ballard wrestled for
Marysville Pilchuck High School and had a career record of 118-9 while winning 4
medals at the state meet. At the Washington State High School Championships he
had a 4th and a 3rd place to go along with two championships. During that time
he also won the state Freestyle title and the Greco-Roman title three times
each. At Cadet Nationals he placed 6th and at Junior Nationals he place 3rd and
6th. His high school GPA was 3.00 and after graduating he attended Oregon State
University. Boyd earned three medals at the University Nationals in Greco-Roman,
placing 3rd twice and 6th once. He placed 2nd at the US Olympic Festival on two
separate occasions in Greco-Roman and took a 3rd in Freestyle. Internationally
he placed 5th at a Bulgaria tournament and 2nd at a tournament in Israel. His
last competition was in 1997 when he placed 5th in the US Senior Opens
Greco-Roman competition. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.
James Stephens wrestled for Everett
High School and had a career record of 126-8 while winning 4 medals at the state
meet. At the Washington State High School Championships he had a 4th and a 2nd
to go along with two championships. He was also named to the Asics Dream team as
a senior. During that time he also won the state Freestyle title three times and
the Greco-Roman title four times. At Cadet Nationals James place 2nd in
Greco-Roman and took a 3rd in Freestyle. In the Junior division at Nationals he
was the champion and he also placed 4th at the Junior World Championships. In
AAU competition James was a champion in Freestyle, Greco-Roman and Sombo styles.
He was the runner-up as Everett Herald Athlete of the Year and was the first
Youth Ambassador of Everett. After high school he attended the University of
Oregon. In the Espoir division he was the National Freestyle champion and placed
6th in the world Espoir Championships. He also placed 1st at the University
Nationals in Greco-Roman. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.