Logan Stieber, who joined the exclusive club of four-time national wrestling champs – and helped lead his Ohio State program to its first team title — at the 2015 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, is now the recipient of another significant honor: the 2015 Dan Hodge Trophy, the award’s sponsor, “WIN” (“Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine”) revealed Monday.
Often referred to within the amateur wrestling community as “the Heisman of college wrestling”, the Hodge trophy has been presented each year since 1995 to the nation’s most dominant college wrestler. Stieber garnered 38 of 44 first-place votes of the Hodge Trophy Voting Committee to earn the award. The committee consists of all previous Hodge winners, national wrestling media, retired college coaches from different regions of the country and a representative of each of the national wrestling organizations.
To win the 2015 Hodge, Stieber beat out an accomplished group of 2015 NCAA mat champs who were finalists in the balloting. Oklahoma State’s two-time NCAA champion Alex Dieringer finished second in the voting with three first-place votes after his incredible season at 165 pounds. Illinois freshman Isaiah Martinez finished third after crafting an undefeated season as a freshman on his way to the 157-pound title, while two-time NCAA heavyweight titlist Nick Gwiazdowski of North Carolina State finished in fourth place in the voting.
In addition to winning the nod of the award’s voting committee, Stieber also won the online fan vote on the “WIN” magazine website the week following the NCAA Championships. The Buckeye got 55 percent of the votes from more than 40,000 fans who cast ballots online. The composite fan vote winner received the final two ballots in the selection process.
“I’m truly honored,” Stieber told “WIN” upon learning he had won this year’s Hodge Trophy. “Growing up, the first college match I saw was Cael Sanderson winning his fourth title (in 2002). And I knew the Hodge Trophy was the biggest and best award so I wanted to win it. To now be in that group (of Hodge winners) is very humbling and I’m proud to have won it.”
Past Hodge winners include Penn State’s David Taylor in 2012 and 2014, 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs (who received it as a University of Nebraska wrestler in 2011), Ben Askren (two-time winner for Missouri, 2006 and 2007), Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson (three-time winner for Iowa State, 2000-2002), Maryland head coach Kerry McCoy (Penn State, 1997) and retired New England Patriots NFL star Stephen Neal (Cal State Bakersfield, 1999).
The award is named for Dan Hodge, legendary wrestler for the University of Oklahoma in the mid-1950s. Undefeated as a Sooner, was a three-time NCAA champ at 177 pounds from 1955-57, and twice named Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament. A powerfully strong wrestler known by the nicknames “Dangerous Dan” and “Homicide Hodge”, Hodge won approximately 80% of his matches by fall. He defeated some of the top wrestlers of his era, including fellow NCAA champs Ned Blass and Jim Gregson of Oklahoma State, and Iowa’s Gary Kurdelmeier.