Hall of Fame wrestler Gene Mills, a two-time World Cup champion and two-time NCAA champion, will be a guest speaker at the 2019 induction banquet by the Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame on May 4, at Foxwoods Resort and Casino.
Mills, who is attending to honor his long-time friend Patrick Burns, will speak at dinner where six outstanding individuals from Connecticut’s wrestling community will be honored for their contributions to the sport of wrestling and our communities. The six men being inducted are:
- Colonel Charles Anderson, a Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient who has served in the Connecticut Army National Guard for more than 30 years, and as the head wrestling coach at both Trumbull High and Norwalk High
- John Bennett, a coach, official and four-time member of the U.S. Veterans World team
- Patrick Burns, former New Milford High coach, an official and CIAC wrestling committee member
- Carmen DelVecchio, one of the top officials in New England and in the nation
- Jason Shaughnessy, the high school coach at Fairfield Warde and Fairfield High and founder and coach with the Police Athletic League (PAL) youth wrestling program in Fairfield
- Dennis Siegmann, the former head coach at Bristol Central High for 22 years and an assistant coach at two junior colleges that won four national championships in six years
Mills had a stellar collegiate and international wrestling career and is a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Oklahoma. He was a four-time All-American at Syracuse, a two-time NCAA champion and the outstanding wrestler at the 1981 NCAA championships. He holds the NCAA Division I record for most career pins (107).
Mills was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team that didn’t participate in the Moscow Olympics due to a boycott but he won the 1980 World Super Championship tournament in Japan earning Outstanding Wrestler honors and won the 1980 Tbilisi (Russia) tournament, also earning Outstanding Wrestler honors. He was named Athlete of the Year in 1980 by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
He won a Pan American title at 52 kilograms (114 pounds) in 1979 and captured World Cup titles in 1980 and 1981 at 52kg. He was second in the World Cup in 1982 and 1986 at 57 and 62 kg, respectively.
Mills finished his exceptional wrestling career with a record of 1,356 wins, 46 losses and one tie. He had 886 career pins.
He spent 17 years as a coach in the Syracuse University wrestling program before moving on to become a successful high school wrestling coach in Phoenix, New York, a town just north of Syracuse, in 2000. He started and coached the Mohawk Valley Wrestling club for 26 years, attracting wrestlers from across the nation and the world to compete on the mat.
Learn more about the Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, the 2019 inductees and the 2019 induction dinner by going to the website at ctwrestling7.homestead.com/halloffame.html