Former IU wrestler Mike Powell was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame this weekend in Stillwater, Okla.
The Medal of Courage will be presented to Powell for continuing to inspire people in the wrestling program after being diagnosed with polymyositis, an inflammatory disease causing muscle weakness.
“Mike was a great talent and hard worker at Indiana and has continued to take his passion to the next level in coaching,” IU Coach Duane Goldman said. “He has shown a lot in overcoming his personal challenges, which is a testament to his strong will and fortitude. Mike is so deserving of this honor, and we are proud of him and wish him the best as he continues to inspire others.”
Powell was a 1994 Illinois state champion wrestler, and continued his career at IU, where he earned All-America honors in 1996. He finished his career with a 68-21 record.
Powell went on to serve as an assistant coach at his old high school, Oak Park and River Forest High School, for five years before becoming head coach in 2005. He was head coach for 10 years, winning two team state championships to go with six appearances in the dual team state finals tournament. He coached 10 individual state champions and 31 all-state wrestlers.
His polymyositis diagnosis came in 2009. Doctors do not know how to cure it, but Powell continued to coach until 2014.