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A Closer Look at Oklahoma State’s 1925 NCAA Wrestling Title

It could be argued that Oklahoma State has more National titles than 34.

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We speak at length about the legendary history of Oklahoma State wrestling. Most notably, the Cowboys are able to lay claim to 34 NCAA team titles and 142 individual titles. What’s not often talked about is there was 12 years of OSU wrestling before the NCAA started sanctioning the sport and its national title. With that, there is a real argument to be made that they’ve actually won more than the 34 that everyone talks about.

Oklahoma State wrestling started in 1915 under head coach A.M. Colville. He coached the program in one dual vs. Texas, which they lost. In 1916 he handed the reins over to Ed Gallagher. The rest is history. The actual NCAA tournament didn’t get its start until 1928, and the Cowboys had some very dominant teams leading up to that first tournament.

Gallagher won eight conference titles before 1928 and had seven seasons where his teams won each dual they competed in. In that period before the NCAA tournament, the AAU National Wrestling was viewed by many as the national tournament for wrestling and the winners were declared national champions of those years. Gallagher’s Aggies won some of those tournament tournaments and crowned a number of individual champions there, specifically in 1925.

In 1925 the Aggies went undefeated and won both the Southwest and Missouri Valley Conference. They went on from there to the National AAU tournament, where they claimed three individual titles and a team title.

1925 AAU Champions

At 118 George Campbell knocked off Van Etter of Cornell College, then in a matchup of teammates at 126 the Cowboys crowned their second champion as Patterson knocked off Schilling. Then the Cowboys crowned their final point-scoring champ Bringham at 135. This locked up the team title for OSU before the consolation matches that were to be wrestled the next day.

1925 AAU Headline

Interestingly, Harold DeMarsch, who would later become an Aggie and the first NCAA champion ever in 1928, won the AAU title here while still in high school.

This is just one story (of many) of one team “national title” that the Cowboys earned before the sanctioning of the NCAA tournament in 1928 along with three individual titles. It’s an interesting footnote in the history of Oklahoma State wrestling that they did win some other team national titles that aren’t credited in their ridiculous historical tally that currently stands at 34 team and 142 individual.

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