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Legendary OU Head Coach Stan Abel Passes Away at 87

OWrestle.com has learned that longtime OU Head Coach and Hall of Famer Stan Abel passed away yesterday at the age of 87. The legendary Sooner coached OU to a National Title in 1974 and three other team runner-up finishes. He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1990.

His bio from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame:

“With two national championships as a wrestler, and another as a coach, Stanley Abel reached across five decades with a career marked by continuing success. Vigorous, vehement and volatile, he was one of the best known figures in the sport. Abel always was out in front for his wrestlers, fighting as hard for them off the mat as he ever asked them to fight on the mat.

In 29 years as a head coach, he amassed more than 350 dual meet victories and a consistent 73 per cent winning record against the toughest possible lineup of opponents. Abel became coach at the University of Oklahoma in 1973, successor to three other Hall of Fame coaches. His Sooners won the NCAA championship in 1974, placed second three times and only once finished out of the nation’s Top 10.

He coached 15 NCAA champions and 74 All-Americans. One of his proudest moments came in 1984 when his son, Darren, earned All-America honors as an OU wrestler. The Sooners captured three Big Eight trophies and Abel was conference coach of the year three times. He was elected Man of the Year in 1974, and national Coach of the Year in ’85.

As a wrestler, he was a three-time collegiate All-American, placing third as a sophomore and winning the NCAA title at 130 pounds the next two years. In 1960, Abel won his second Big Eight crown, was conference wrestler of the year, and led the Sooners to the NCAA team championship. He had a career record of 53-5-1.

After posting a 69-4-2 record as coach at Putnam City High School, where he had wrestled, Abel served three years as an assistant at Ohio University, then became head coach at Cincinnati in 1972. One season later he was summoned home to Oklahoma, to continue the wrestling tradition established by Paul Keen, Port Robertson and Tommy Evans.”

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