Wade Schalles – Distinguished Member – 1991
One of the most exciting and spectacular athletes of his time, Wade Schalles would wrestle anyone, anytime, anywhere, at any weight from 150 to 180 pounds, with odds of 2 to 1 that he would win by a fall.
Nor was he particular about the style. Schalles was a national champion, or an All-American, in folkstyle, Freestyle and Greco-Roman, and in the allied disciplines of sombo and judo.
He earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as wrestling’s all-time leader in victories with 821, and in falls with 530. Schalles also was renowned for defeating 36 national champions, pinning 17 of them, and defeating eight World titlists. Each total is considered a record.
His collegiate career at Clarion University was limited by an unusual NCAA rule which barred freshman competitors from the national tournament not only for their freshman year, but also as seniors. Eligible only for the 1972 and ’73 meets, he won both Division II and Division I twice, and was outstanding wrestler of both events as a sophomore.
Schalles compiled a collegiate record of 153-5-1, and amassed a staggering 106 falls. He won the Pennsylvania State Conference title four times and was outstanding wrestler all four years. This followed a high school career in which he pinned 96 percent of his opponents.
He won a gold medal in the 1977 World University Games, pinning all six opponents, and another in the Tbilisi International, with five falls in six bouts. In both events, he was hailed as outstanding wrestler.
He is known for creating and perfecting a radically different pinning hold which he named the “spladle.” It best demonstrates the limber physique which prompted one writer to call him “Plastic Man.” During and after his competitive days, he coached youth, collegiate and national teams. He is an author, a clinician and a top-flight collegiate referee.
Because of his unique style, his emphasis on the fall, and for blending those elements into a great success, Stephen Wade Schalles is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.