Waukon High School and Luther College alum Greg Lonning inducted into NWCA Division III Hall of Fame this past weekend
Waukon High School and Luther College alumnus Greg Lonning was inducted into the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division III Hall Fame Thursday, March 9 at the NWCA Hall of Fame Banquet held at the La Crosse Center Ballroom in La Crosse, WI. The banquet and induction ceremony were part of the NCAA Division III National Wrestling Championships also held at the La Crosse Center this past weekend, March 10-11.
A 1979 graduate and State Wrestling placewinner at Waukon High School and a 1984 graduate of Luther College, Lonning was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a wrestling coach. He also had the honor of sharing that induction ceremony honoring with one of his former wrestlers, three-time All-America honoree and 1996 NCAA Champion at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Jeff O’Gara, who is also currently an assistant wrestling coach at Luther College in Decorah.
Following his graduation from Waukon High School, Lonning went on to a stellar collegiate wrestling career at Luther College, where he won a NCAA Championship in 1983 at 118 pounds and was a two-time NCAA III All-American on the mat. Lonning, who was inducted into Luther’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994, was a three-year letter winner for the Norse and also won two Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) titles and was named the Most Valuable Wrestler at the 1982 All-Lutheran Tournament.
Lonning’s Hall of Fame coaching career included stints as head coach at UW-La Crosse from 1992-1998 and Central College in Pella from 1987-1989. While at UW-La Crosse, he compiled a dual meet record of 77-19 and led the Eagles to their first Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) title in school history in 1993 and then again in 1998. He coached 19 NCAA III All-Americans, including three national champions, one of those being O’Gara. He also coached 19 WIAC champions.
While at Central, he led the Dutch to a 23-10 dual meet record and the 1989 Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) title. That same year, he was named the league’s Coach of the Year. He coached 10 All-Americans, including the school’s first national champion.