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Oklahoma State wrestling icon Chesbro dies at 66

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Tommy Chesbro, who wrestled for
Oklahoma State before leading his alma mater to an NCAA
championship as a coach, has died, university officials said
Saturday.

Chesbro, 66, suffered a heart attack and died Friday night in
Stillwater, where he'd spent more than four decades at Oklahoma
State as an athlete, coach and athletic administrator.

A moment of silence in honor of Chesbro was held before Oklahoma
State's football game against Missouri State on Saturday at Boone
Pickens Stadium.

As an athlete, Chesbro was a member of NCAA title teams in 1959
and 1961. After his graduation, he worked as a high school coach in
Blackwell and Stillwater before becoming Oklahoma State's coach in
1970.

In his second season at the OSU helm, he guided the Cowboys to
their 27th national title and was named as the national coach of
the year.

In 15 seasons at Oklahoma State, he went 227-26 and added two
NCAA runner-up finishes, in 1983 and 1984. He ended his coaching
career on a 43-dual match winning streak.

He coached 19 wrestlers who won individual NCAA titles and 76
All-Americans. One of his former wrestlers is John Smith, who went
on to win two Olympic gold medals and is now the Cowboys' coach.

"When I heard the news on Friday evening, all I could think
about was, I lost my coach," said Smith, who'd gone on an
out-of-state fishing trip in recent days with his former coach.
"My relationship with coach Chesbro was one you would have with
your mother and father.

"I still think today he's the greatest technician in collegiate
folkstyle wrestling there's ever been," Smith said. "He was an
encyclopedia of skill and technique. That was to my advantage,
having somebody that close to be able to pull information from."

After stepping down as coach, Chesbro spent the last 22 years
working in facilities for Oklahoma State.

In 1995, Chesbro was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall
of Fame.

"He was one of the most positive mentors I ever had as an
athlete and coach," Smith said. "He had a great passion for
Oklahoma State and its wrestling program."

Services for Chesbro will be Wednesday at Sunnybrook Christian
Church in Stillwater.