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Lee Kemp

Photo of Lee Kemp

Arguably the most storied wrestler to ever step on the mat at the University of Wisconsin, Lee Kemp helped establish the UW program during the 1970s. Kemp was the first, and only, Wisconsin wrestler to win three NCAA championships and he did so in consecutive years.

Kemp came to Wisconsin in 1975 from Cleveland, Ohio, and over the next four years, set an array of UW records. Kemp posted a career record of 143-6-1, which is the best of any UW wrestler in terms of winning percentage (.957). Kemp was also the first UW wrestler to finish a season unblemished as he went 39-0 during the 1975-76 season.

Before the 2008-09 season, Kemp's 46 career pins was atop the UW's career falls list for 30 years. He still ties with Dallas Herbst for most falls in a season with 18.

Kemp's success did not end at the University of Wisconsin. Just two months after completing his senior year of competition, Kemp won the World Championships for freestyle wrestling; his first of four-consecutive titles at 163 lbs. Kemp also won four-straight gold medals at the World Cup of Freestyle and was a two-time gold medalist at the Pan-American Games.

In 1980, Kemp had the honor to represent his country in the Olympic Games but a government boycott of the Moscow games left Kemp and the rest of the U.S. team at home. After 28 years, Kemp finally made it to the Olympics as he served as an assistant coach for the U.S. freestyle team in Beijing.

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