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Ex-WSU wrestlers reuniting to commemorate shuttered program’s glory years

By Ryan Aston - | Jan 23, 2024

Photo supplied, Ed Dilbeck

A photo of Weber State University's 1982 wrestling team.

Former wrestlers from Weber State University will be holding a reunion for all those who competed under head coaches Charles “Chick” Hislop, John Webb or Jody Warren to celebrate their shared history and the now defunct program while commemorating the 50th anniversary of Hislop becoming WSU’s coach in 1973.

The event is scheduled to take place from 5:30 p.m. until at least 8 p.m. Saturday and will be held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ meetinghouse located at 4855 S. 300 West in Washington Terrace.

Hislop earned his spot in the Weber State Athletics Hall of Fame (and multiple other honorable halls, including at the national level) by elevating the school’s track and field program to a championship level, capturing 21 Big Sky titles and innumerable individual championships across his 38 years at the institution. However, the five-plus years he spent as head wrestling coach laid the foundation for that program’s later success. Under his watch, Mike Isom became a multiple-time Big Sky champion and national qualifier.

The Ogden native passed away in February 2023 at the age of 86.

Webb — another WSU Hall of Famer — took the baton from his old coach in 1979, and he would usher in the most successful period in WSU’s wrestling history. The Wildcats won both of their Big Sky Conference titles during his tenure (in 1981 and 1983), and 21 wrestlers captured individual championships. Webb also developed three All-Americans: Gary “Tiny” Scrivens, Dave Lundskog and Ryan Western; all of whom logged top-10 finishes at the NCAA championships.

Reunion organizer Ed Dilbeck, who wrestled for Webb in 1981 and qualified for the NCAA tournament that year, has fond memories of that period.

“It was a great experience,” Dilbeck told the Standard-Examiner. “We just had good personalities; we had people who liked to work hard. John Webb just squeezed every ounce of talent out of you.”

Webb went on to join the coaching staff of the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who won a national championship in 1989, before finishing his coaching career as an assistant at Brigham Young University. He and his wife, Jan, are planning to attend Saturday’s reunion.

Warren, meanwhile, served as the wrestling program’s steward over its final two seasons; the program was eventually cut and the Big Sky stopped sponsoring wrestling championships altogether after the 1986-87 season. Despite the challenges inherent to coaching a team headed for the chopping block, Dilbeck noted that Warren “put some very capable wrestlers on the mat.” One of them, Blake Beesley, had over 30 wins during his senior year.

Warren also coached wrestling at Weber High School for more than two decades, going undefeated en route to a state title in 2007. Like Webb, he’s a member of the Utah Wrestling Hall of Fame. He passed away in 2014 at the age of 51.

For more information on the reunion or to RSVP, call or text Dilbeck at 801-458-2399.


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