O’Gara, Fader, And Lonning Inducted into The NWCA Hall Of Fame
The UW La Crosse Eagle wrestling team will be host to the NCAA DIII Championships on March 10-11 at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. A total of 180 participants will wrestle in a quest for All-American status. Many Wisconsin WIAA high school alumni have qualified for this exciting weekend. The great wrestling will be preceded by the NWCA Hall of Fame induction ceremony Thursday, March 9 starting at 6:30 p.m. A social will be held at 6:00 p.m. in the La Crosse Center Ball Room. The cost is $10 for the event.
Three names familiar to Wisconsin will be recognized at the event.
Former Royall Panther and UW La Crosse NCAA National Champion Jeff O’Gara, a 3x NCAA D3 All-American (1992-1996), will be recognized for his accomplishments on the mat. Despite a junior year cut short due to injury, O’Gara earned impressive 114-12 record. After recovering from injury, he came back in 1996 to win his NCAA National Championship. O’Gara, a 1991 WIAA State Champion for Royall High school is currently an assistant wrestling coach at Luther College, where his former UW La Crosse Teammate Dave Mitchell is head coach. O’Gara was also a 2x WIAC Conference Champion.
Two familiar names will be inducted into the NWCA Hall of Fame as coaches. Current UW Eau Claire Coach Tim Fader and Greg Lonning who was head coach at Central College (Pella, IA) and the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. Lonning began his career at Central where he led the team to a top 5 national finish before landing in La Crosse. After a year working with long-time coach Al Freeman on a transition from NAIA to NCAA, Coach Lonning was promoted to head coach and had an immediate impact on the Eagle program. In his first year as head coach, the Eagles finished 18-2, while three individuals earned All-American honors. Lonning continued through the 1990s, where he impacted student-athletes lives positively both on and off the mat. During his tenure Lonning also received honors as a Coach of the Year by the Wisconsin Coaches. He was also a national champion wrestler for Luther College.
Coach Tim Fader will also be inducted into the NWCA Hall of Fame as a coach. The former Augustana All-American began his coaching career as an assistant at Minnesota Morris before beginning graduate work at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. At UWL he was an assistant under then Head Coach Greg Lonning. After Coach Lonning accepted a job at Luther College as Head of Wellness, Coach Fader was promoted to head coach. With Fader as head coach, the program continued to excel during his 10-year tenure with several top 5 national finishes and All-Americans. Fader eventually accepted a job at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater where he had continued success on the national scene with several more All-Americans. Coach Fader took his talents to assist at Wheaton before landing back in Wisconsin in his current position as head coach at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. Fader is a four-time WIAC Coach of the year.
This is an exciting event for wrestling in Wisconsin. The NWCA and WIAC college alumni are looking forward to a great night of recognition and fellowship. This is just an example of the connections made in the sport of wrestling. All three of these successful individuals worked together and went on to positively impact the lives of others.