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Hall of Fame week: Andy Rein & Russ Hellickson

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It is Hall of Fame week at the University of Wisconsin. Join UWBadgers.com as they look back at all of the deserving wrestlers in the UW Hall of Fame.

After his Badger wrestling career Russ Hellickson, Hall of Fame class of 1995, made his mark on the international level as well as behind the bench for Wisconsin wrestling as a coach for 16 years. 


Hellickson won 10 national freestyle wrestling titles after leaving Wisconsin as well as three Pan American Games gold medals (1971, 1975, 1979), silver (1979) and bronze (1971) medal finishes at the World Championships, and a gold medal at the prestigious Tbilisi Tournament in Russia in 1974.

He competed for Team USA at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, bringing home a silver medal at 220 lbs. He qualified, and was the U.S. Olympic freestyle team captain for the boycotted 1980 games in Moscow. 

Hellickson was a charter member of the Wisconsin Wrestling Hall of Fame, and is also enshrined in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Midlands Open Hall of Fame. 

While competing internationally, Hellickson also found time to serve as a coach for his alma mater, both as an assistant (1971-82) and as its head coach for four seasons from 1983-86. He led the Badgers to a 70-22-1 dual record in his time as head coach, including three 20-win seasons, as well as back-to-back Big Ten runner-up finishes in 1985 and 1986. 

Hellickson ranks third among UW wrestling coaches in career winning percentage with a .758 mark.

It's a good problem to have if you're Andy Rein, Hall of Fame Class of 2002, and you can't decide whether your accomplishments as a wrestler or as a coach for the Wisconsin Wrestling team are more impressive. Both sets can certainly stake a claim. 

As a player, Rein was a three-time All-American for the Badgers, taking second in 1978, sixth in 1979, and winning a national title in 1980. He was also a two-time Big Ten champion (1978, 1980), three-time Midlands Open champion (1978-80), and his career 119-13-1 record included an undefeated 40-0 season in 1980. 

Following his Badger career, Rein went international and continued to find success on the mat. He won four United States national freestyle titles and was a two-time Olympian (1980 and 1984) in freestyle, taking home a silver medal at the 1984 games in Los Angeles at 149.5 lbs. 

Rein also won gold medals at the 1983 Tbilisi Tournament in the Soviet Union and the 1979 Pan American Games, as well as silver medals at the 1982 World Cup of Wrestling and the 1985 Super Champions Tournament. 

After being hired as the Badgers' head coach in 1987, Rein led Wisconsin to a 81-41-3 record in his seven seasons at the helm of the program, which included Big Ten runner-up finishes in 1987, when Rein was named NCAA Rookie Coach of the Year, and 1992, when he was named Big Ten Coach of the Year. 

Rein coached 14 student-athletes to All-America distinction and two - David Lee and Matt Demaray - to national championships. His .659 winning percentage as head coach.ranks sixth in program history


Ryan Evans
UW Athletic Communications

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