Gold Medal winner, Hamill wrestling mentor dies in crash

By Sports WKTV

TOKNKAWA, OK. (AP & WKTV) – Olympic Gold Medal winning wrestler Doug Blubaugh was killed in a motor vehicle accident in Tonkawa, Oklahoma on Monday. Blubaugh was a mentor to UFC fighter Matt “The Hammer” Hamill and had visited with Hamill at his Utica area home last October when Hamill was preparing for his fight against Tito Ortiz. Blubaugh was 76 years old.

Blubaugh overcame vision problems to earn an honored career in wrestling. He won the 1957 NCAA wrestling championship and was a member of the U.S. Olympic team, wrestling at 157 pounds in the Rome games. The draw for the tournament put Blubaugh on a collision course with Emam-Ali Habbi, the Olympic Gold Medal winner in 1956 from Iran. Blubaugh pinned Habbi en route to taking gold for the U.S. Blubaugh’s win over Habbi was the wrestling equivalent of hockey’s Miracle on Ice.

Blubaugh settled in Indiana and became the wrestling coach at Indiana University. He held wrestling camps over the summers and it was there that he met a seven year old Matt Hamill. The young wrestler shared a similar situation with Coach Blubaugh, both had physical conditions to deal with. Blubaugh had his vision and Hamill had his hearing.

Blubaugh told NewsChannel 2 last fall that young Matt went to him after a training session and asked Blubaugh to show him things he had taught in the class. With the one on one setting, Hamill could read Blubaugh’s lips and understand the lesson. Blubaugh said that the young Hamill loved the camp and he could never get rid of him. The tone of Blubaugh’s voice indicated that he never wanted to get rid of his young student.

Police say that Blubaugh was driving a motorcycle in Tonkawa Monday night when he was hit by a pick up truck. Police say that neither drugs nor alcohol seems to have been involved.

Hamill continues to train for his fight against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the main event at UFC 130 in Las Vegas on May 28th.

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