2009 Dale Evans Lifetime Service Deforest2.jpg

George Martin Hall of Fame - 2017

Dale M Evans was born in Madison, Wisconsin. His family moved to the Windsor/DeForest area after fifth grade. Dale was talked into going out for wrestling at DeForest High School by a friend who wanted a work out partner. The very first wrestling match he ever saw was the 95 pound match ahead of his at 103. Weighing in at 98 pounds, Dale lost that first match. By the end of the season Dale had qualified for sectionals. By his senior year, Dale placed in every tournament he competed in, except sectionals his freshman year. During his senior year in 1968, Dale qualified for the State tournament and finished fourth. He compiled an 82-21 HS record.

That spring while out for the golf team, Dale heard of a clinic that Rick Heinzelman was running in Madison to get Wisconsin wrestlers ready for the AAU Junior Olympic trials. Golf was immediately dropped and Freestyle wrestling was started. Dale moved up two weight classes and won that first Freestyle State Championship and went on to place seventh in the National tournament in Worland, Wyoming.

That fall Dale moved to Menomonie, Wisconsin to attend Stout State University. He had not been recruited and when asked where he was from said, Windsor Wisconsin. No one knew where Windsor was so when practice started he was listed seventh of the seven guys in his weight class. One by one he moved up the chart, the kid that “looks like a chipmunk, but wrestles like a grizzly bear”. Dale the second youngest kid in his high school class was 17 years old, wrestling in college. By the end of that first season, Dale was the first freshman to win the WSUC championship and qualify for NIAA Nationals. By the end of his collegiate career Dale had won four WSUC championships, voted the most valuable wrestler twice, and was a two time All American placing 4th and 3rd in the NAIA. UW Stout also gave him the 1973 senior athlete of the year award. He compiled a 101-16-1 record in college.

After college Dale married his wife Debbie and started work in the family business, EVCO Plastics, but his heart was still in wrestling. Work started at 6:30 AM during the 1974 wrestling season so he could make it to UW Madison by 4:00 PM where he was a graduate assistant coach. Dale’s first workout partner was Wisconsin’s first NCAA champion, Rick Lawinger. That next season a young freshman joined the program at Dale’s weight by the name of Lee Kemp. Lee took second that year and won Nationals the next three years.  Dale had stopped competing, but the six years at UW Madison were some of the best and most fun in the sport of wrestling Dale had ever had. During his last year coaching in 1979, Wisconsin had three NCAA champions and five of the ten guys on the USA World team were in the Wisconsin Wrestling room as coaches or UW wrestlers.

In 1980 Debbie and Dale’s daughter Katherine was born. Work and kids now would have to be the priority. Dale started doing some refereeing and working more with the USWF. Dale and Debbie became the Co State Chairmen of the USWF and continued Russ Hellicksons’s efforts with spring and summer wrestling clinics and tournaments throughout the State.  The articles of the Wisconsin Wrestling Federation Incorporated were written by Dale, Debbie and Dave Gliniecki at their kitchen table in Windsor Wisconsin. Many times over the next few years Debbie, ran the tournaments while Dale refereed.  Debbie became a Life time Parings Master while Dale became a USA Wrestling rated one exceptional referee. Dale refereed some international meets including the USA/Cuban duel in Madison.

Club wrestling was growing so in 1983 Dale and a few parents from DeForest started the Gold Medal Wrestling Club. Dale acted as the head coach for 18 years before turning it over to others. The reason for turning the club over to others was after acting as a DeForest HS volunteer assistant coach there was an imminent need for a new head coach. Dale reluctantly took over the program. That first year DeForest won the Badger North Conference Championship and qualified six individuals to the Division One State tournament. After three years Mark Hemauer was recruited and Dale went back to helping as an assistant when he could. Now at age 65 years old Dale is a volunteer Assistant Middle school coach at DeForest Middle School.

Competition 1966-1977

  • DeForest High School Four Year Letter winner
    Captain and Most Valuable Wrestler
  • UW Stout: Four Year Letter Winner, Captain and Most Valuable Wrestler
  • Fourth; WIAA State Championships
  • First; State Freestyle, Seventh; National trials for Junior Olympics
  • Four-time WSUC Champion (first ever), Two-time Most Outstanding Wrestler
  • Two-time NAIA All American, 1972, 1973
  • Senior Athlete of the Year
  • UW Stout Hall of Fame: Inducted 1985
  • Selected to WIAC All-Time Wrestling Team, 2012
  • Winner of 1972 Regional Olympic Trials, State Open Freestyle Champ
  • Member of Wisconsin Wrestling Club

 Coaching

  • UW Madison Assistant Coach, 1974-1979
  • DeForest Area Freestyle & Greco Roman Coach 1971-2004
  • Gold Medal Wrestling Club Coach, 1983-2001
  • DeForest High School Assistant Coach, 38 years
  • Wisconsin’s State Freestyle Team Head Junior National Coach
  • DeForest High School Head Coach 2002-2004
  • DeForest Middle School Assistant Coach 2007-present
  • USA Wrestling Freestyle and Greco Roman Official, Level 1E 1973-1984
  • WIAA Official 2007-present
  • Wisconsin Wrestling Federation Inc, State Co-Chairman with my wife Debbie.
  • Gold Medal Wrestling Club Inc, 1983-present.
  • Inducted into National Wrestling Hall of Fame: Lifetime Achievement 2009 

 

National Wrestling Hall of Fame - Lifetime Service - 2009

The Evans family of DeForest has been involved in wrestling ever since Don Evans went out for wrestling at MadisonEastHigh School in 1042. There was one brief interruption 1942 while Don served in the Navy during WWII. Amongst many other assignments, one of his duties during the war was to transport General MacArthur’s staff in vehicles on Yokohama for the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender.

When the war was over, Don enrolled in the University of Wisconsin and wrestled for the Badgers in 1946-47. That was the beginning of the Evans’ affiliation with UW.

A generation later, Steve Evans, a two time WIAA state champion, passed up an appointment to the NavalAcademy to wrestle at Wisconsin. In fact, Steve was Coach Duane Kleven’s first recruit at Wisconsin. Steve was a four year letterman for the Badgers.

A missed phone call was all that kept Steve’s older brother Dale from wrestling for the Badgers. However, he did wrestle for UW-Stout where he was the first ever four time WSUC Conference Champion. He was also a two time NAIA All-American and he continued to successfully compete in open tournaments until 1977.

From 1974-79, Dale served as an assistant coach for the Badgers. One of his duties as assistant coach was to be a workout partner for Wisconsin’s first national champion, Rick Lawinger.

As good as the Evanses were as competitors, their off-the-mat contributions to the sport are equally or even more impressive.

Don was the first president of the Wisconsin Weigh-In Club and has been a very generous donor to Wisconsin wrestling. Former Badger coach Duane Kleven said, “Whenever we had to have something, we knew who we could turn to.”

As an example, Kleven cites the 1973 match at the Field House between the Russian Olympic team and a team made up of Wisconsin Olympians and college standouts. “We had to have a $10,000 guarantee, and we didn’t have any money. Don Evans thought it was a worthwhile undertaking so he underwrote the whole thing.”

Because of the generosity of the Evans family, 9,000 fans got to see some of the greatest wrestlers in the world compete in Madison.

Following the match, the Evanse's hosted the two teams at their 7E’s restaurant. This is the same restaurant that sponsored a wild game feed and auction every year to benefit UW wrestling. When Don moved to Reno, Steve continued the tradition.

Although the 7E’s has closed and Don moved to Reno, Dale and Steve continue to be actively involved in the wrestling community. Dale has been coaching wrestling-freestyle and Greco, high school, and middle school for 38 years. Dale has served as president of the Wisconsin Wrestling Federation and as a board member. He was also a freestyle and Greco official from 1973-1984.

Steve has also be coaching wrestling, primarily high school, for a number of years. Since 2006, he has been head coach of the Edgewood/Monona Grove team.

Both Dale and Steve have continued the family tradition of being very generous monetary donors to wrestling causes.

The Evans family success has not been limited to wrestling. In 1948, while still attending UW, Don Evans bought his first plastic injection molding press. That was the start of Evco Plastics. Evco Plastics now has 11 facilities and over 1,000 employees in three countries.

Dale is now president of Evco Plastics and Steve is on the Board of Directors for Evco Plastics.

On May 1, 2009, Don and Joan Evans celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary. They raised five sons: Dale, Steve, Chris, Jim and Rick.

Dale and his wife Debbie, who also has some very impressive wrestling service credentials, live in DeForest with their two daughters, Katie and Anna.

Steve and his wife Julie live in Madison. They have three sons – Daniel, Paul and Ben.