Dave Schultz (wrestling)

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This article is about the amateur wrestler. For the professional wrestler, see David Schultz (professional wrestler).
Dave Schultz
Medal record
Men's wrestling
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold 1984 Los Angeles Freestyle (– 74 kg)
World Championships
Bronze 1982 Edmonton Freestyle (– 82 kg)
Gold 1983 Kiev Freestyle (– 74 kg)
Silver 1985 Budapest Freestyle (– 74 kg)
Bronze 1986 Budapest Freestyle (– 74 kg)
Silver 1987 Clermont Freestyle (– 74 kg)
Silver 1993 Toronto Freestyle (– 74 kg)
Pan American Games
Gold 1987 Indianapolis Freestyle (– 74 kg)
Bronze 1995 Mar del Plata Freestyle (– 74 kg)
World Cup
Gold 1980 Toledo Freestyle (– 74 kg)
Gold 1982 Toledo Freestyle (– 74 kg)
Gold 1985 Toledo Freestyle (– 74 kg)
Gold 1994 Edmonton Freestyle (– 74 kg)
Gold 1995 Chattanooga Freestyle (– 74 kg)
Goodwill Games
Gold 1986 Moscow Freestyle (– 74 kg)
Silver 1994 St. Petersburg Freestyle (– 74 kg)

David Leslie Schultz (June 6, 1959 – January 26, 1996) was an Olympic and world champion freestyle wrestler. He was killed by a gunshot from athletic sponsor John Eleuthère du Pont.


Early life[edit]

Schultz was born in Palo Alto, California to Phillip Gary Schultz and Dorothy Jean St. Germain. He had one brother named Mark, and has two half-siblings – Michael and Seana. As a young child he was a little chubby (nicknamed "Pudge"), and was often bullied at school by classmates for his weight and appearance. He also suffered from dyslexia, which many of his teachers mistook for mental disabilities.

Schultz began wrestling in junior high school, and would win both his first national and international wrestling titles in 1977 – the same year he had become a state champion as a senior at Palo Alto High School. As a high school senior he pinned 2-time NCAA champion and NCAA "Outstanding Wrestler" Chuck Yagla at the Great Plains Championships.

Wrestling career[edit]

His high school wrestling records had qualified him to compete on his first U.S. international team in the Tblisi Tournament in Soviet Georgia, considered by many in the wrestling community as the "toughest tournament in the world." Schultz earned a silver medal and was the highest-placing American at the tournament. Due to the timing of Tblisi, Schultz failed to qualify for the California State Championships, but his coach Ed Hart successfully petitioned the state coaches association to allow him to compete. Wrestling two weight classes above his normal division, Schultz pinned all his opponents in the state championships but the last, whom he defeated 12-1 in the final match. Later that year he won his first national title by winning the U.S. National Open Greco-Roman Championships and won the award for most falls in the least amount of time. Schultz's senior year is considered by most experts as the most successful senior year in U.S. high school wrestling history.

In college Schultz was a three-time NCAA All-American, first at Oklahoma State University and then twice at the University of Oklahoma. In 1982, he was the 167-pound weight class NCAA Champion defeating Mike Sheets from Oklahoma State University in the finals by criteria tie-breaker in overtime.

Dave Schultz would go on to win 10 Senior National titles (eight in Freestyle and two in Greco-Roman) over a 19 year span, at three weight divisions: 149.9 lb, 163 lb and 180.5 lb. In international competition, Schultz won a 1983 World Championship and then a 1984 Olympic gold medal. He won four World Cup and two Pan American Games titles, and is the only American ever to win the prestigious tournament in Tbilisi, Georgia twice. In all, he was a seven-time World and Olympic medalist. Together, Dave and his brother Mark Schultz, along with the Banach brothers, were the first American brothers to each win gold medals in the same Olympics, and likewise the only American brothers to win World and Olympic Championships.

At various times, he also served as an assistant coach at the University of Oklahoma, Stanford University, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Schultz trained renowned professional wrestler and 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle to be a wrestler.


Training for another Olympic bid and coaching the private "Team Foxcatcher" squad in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, Dave Schultz was shot and killed on January 26, 1996, by the team's sponsor, John Eleuthère du Pont. A member of the du Pont family, du Pont had exhibited bizarre and threatening behavior preceding the murder. At the trial, neither the prosecution nor the defense suggested a motivation for the crime. A jury rejected du Pont's request to be found not guilty by reason of insanity and he was found guilty but mentally ill. Du Pont was sentenced by Judge Patricia Jenkins to 13–30 years incarceration and died in jail on December 9, 2010. Schultz's father, Philip, told The New York Times that "the fact that he's officially gone is almost a moot point. I did forgive the man for what he did. I never forgave the act."[1]

Schultz was 36 at the time of his death. His body was cremated. Schultz's surviving family included his wife, Nancy, his son, Alexander, his daughter, Danielle, all his siblings, and both parents. In 1997, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member.

Four months after Dave's murder, Mark competed in UFC 9 and won.

Foxcatcher, directed by Academy Award-nominee Bennett Miller, starring Channing Tatum as Mark, Steve Carell as du Pont, and Mark Ruffalo as Dave, is an upcoming major motion picture based on Mark's relationship with du Pont.


After Schultz's murder, 20 former Foxcatcher athletes were left without training or coaching resources only six months before the 1996 Olympic Games. Schultz's widow founded the Dave Schultz Wrestling Club in March 1996 to sponsor the stranded wrestlers through the Olympics. The Club succeeded beyond its initial short-term projection and continued to train athletes in both men's and women's freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling until its closure in 2005.[2] Among the wrestlers who competed under Dave Schultz WC sponsorship were Olympic gold medalists Kurt Angle (100 kg/220 lbs Men's Freestyle, 1996) and Brandon Slay (76 kg/167.5 lbs Men's Freestyle, 2000), Olympic bronze medalist Patricia Miranda (48 kg/105.5 lbs Women's Freestyle, 2004), and World Champion Stephen Neal (130 kg/286 lbs. Men's Freestyle, 1999).[2]

Since Schultz's death USA Wrestling has hosted the annual Dave Schultz Memorial International wrestling meet at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Athletic achievements[edit]

  • 1982 NCAA Division I Champion, 167 lb class
  • 1983 Senior Freestyle world champion, 163 lb
  • 1984 Olympic gold medalist, 163.1 lb
  • 1986 Goodwill Games gold medalist
  • 1994 Goodwill Games silver medalist
  • Seven-time USA Senior Freestyle champion (1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1993, 1994, 1995; all except 1988 (180.5 lb) at 163 lb)
  • Five-time World Cup champion (1980, 1982, 1985, 1994, 1995)
  • Two-time Pan American Games champion (1977 (Greco-Roman), 1987(Freestyle))
  • Three-time AAU National Champion (1977 GR, 1981 FS, 1982 GR)
  • Three-time NCAA Division I all-American (1978, 1981, 1982)
  • Two-Time Tbilisi Champion (1984, 1991)
  • Two-time Olympic Festival Champion (1985, 1987)
  • Two-time Sunkist International Champion (1989, 1990)
  • Three-time DeGlane Challenge Champion (1983, 1990, 1991)
  • Three-time World silver medalist, 163 lb (1985, 1987, 1993)
  • Two-time World Bronze medalist (1982, 1986)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Longman, Jeré (December 9, 2010). "John E. duPont, Heir Who Killed an Olympian, Dies at 72". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b Abbott, Gary. "RIP Dave Schultz Wrestling Club". Retrieved 8 December 2010.