Two members of the York College wrestling coaching staff have been selected for induction into the National Wrestling Coaches Association National Division III Hall of Fame.
Spartan head coach Tom Kessler and former All-American and current York assistant coach Duane Bastress will enter the Hall of Fame together in March, 2013.
Kessler just concluded his 20th season as the Spartans' head coach. In 2011-2012, Kessler's team finished 25-4 and four Spartans went to the Division III national tournament. Kessler earned his 300th career win on Jan. 28, 2012, when his nationally ranked Spartans downed Shippensburg 20-15 at the Mid-Penn Duals in Millersville.
Kessler boasts an overall record of 304-133-3, good for a winning percentage of .694. He has coached 14 Spartans who have earned 18 All-American awards, including Bastress, who was a two-time national champion. Under Kessler, the Spartans have also had 17 wrestlers who have garnered 25 NWCA Scholar-Athlete accolades.
"It is special and a real honor to be even nominated by your peers as a possible HOF candidate," Kessler said. "To be voted into the Hall of Fame by your peers is very humbling."
Bastress, in addition to his two national titles at 184 pounds in 2005 and 2006, was also a three-time All-American. He finished his senior season with a perfect 40-0 record. He finished his three-year York College career with a mark of 97-6. His four-year mark, including his freshman year at Bloomsburg University, was 114-21. Bastress concluded his career with a 65-match win streak.
"The first word that I can think of is: Wow," Bastress said. "It's a honor to be recognized by the NCAA Division III with such a high honor. I believe that its everyone's goal to make their sport's HOF and now my name is beside some of the greatest names in Division III wrestling history."
Kessler said he treasures the honor even more because he gets to get inducted with Bastress.
"Going into the HOF along with Duane is kind of a dream come true," he said. "To be able to share two national championships with Duane and now this, well what more could a coach ask for? He is a well-deserving inductee, and I know it will be a special moment that neither one of us will forget for the rest of our lives."
Bastress also feels the honor is made more special by getting to go in with his long-time head coach.
"The funny thing is I actually nominated Coach Kessler to the HOF as a surprise," Bastress said. "I believed that after everything that he has done for the sport and the generations of student-athletes that he has coached, he needed to be recognized. I believe that we are the first wrestler and coach from the same school to be accepted in the same year. That to me speaks volumes to the kind of team that we make together. It's awesome that someone I consider to be a father figure to me is able to share in the same accomplishment with me."
The Spartan duo will be inducted March 14, 2013, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at the 2013 NCAA National Championship Tournament.