Dave Schultz (wrestler)

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Dave Schultz
Dave Schultz wrestler.jpg
Full nameDavid Lesley Schultz
Born(1959-06-06)June 6, 1959
Palo Alto, California, U.S.
DiedJanuary 26, 1996(1996-01-26) (aged 36)
Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, U.S.
High schoolPalo Alto High School
State championships1 (California)
CollegeOklahoma State University
University of Oklahoma
NCAA championships1
Medal record
Men's freestyle wrestling
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Olympic rings.svg
Gold medal – first place 1984 Los Angeles 74 kg
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1983 Kiev 74 kg
Silver medal – second place 1985 Budapest 74 kg
Silver medal – second place 1987 Clermont 74 kg
Silver medal – second place 1993 Toronto 74 kg
Bronze medal – third place 1982 Edmonton 82 kg
Bronze medal – third place 1986 Budapest 74 kg
Pan American Games
Gold medal – first place 1987 Indianapolis 74 kg
Bronze medal – third place 1995 Mar del Plata 74 kg
World Cup
Gold medal – first place 1980 Toledo 74 kg
Gold medal – first place 1982 Toledo 74 kg
Silver medal – second place 1985 Toledo 74 kg
Gold medal – first place 1994 Edmonton 74 kg
Gold medal – first place 1995 Chattanooga 74 kg
Goodwill Games
Gold medal – first place 1986 Moscow 74 kg
Silver medal – second place 1994 St. Petersburg 74 kg

David Lesley Schultz (June 6, 1959 – January 26, 1996) was an American Olympic and world champion freestyle wrestler, a seven-time World and Olympic Gold medalist. He coached individuals and teams at the college level and also privately. He was murdered by John Eleuthère du Pont, a millionaire philanthropist who sponsored the private Foxcatcher wrestling team at an amateur sports center known as Foxcatcher Farm that he set up on his estate in Pennsylvania.

Dave and his brother Mark Schultz, also a wrestler, were noted for both winning gold at the same Olympics (1984). The Schultzes were one of three sets of brothers (the others are Buvaisar and Adam Saitiev, and Anatoli and Sergei Beloglazov), to win both World and Olympic championships. The Schultz brothers won more NCAA, U.S. Open, World, and Olympic titles than any other American brother combination in history.

Early life[edit]

David Lesley Schultz was born in Palo Alto, California, to Dorothy Jean St. Germain (née Rich)[1] and Phillip Gary Schultz. He was the brother of Mark Schultz, and two half-siblings – Michael and Seana. Schultz was of half Ukrainian Jewish and half British descent.[2] His paternal grandparents were Estelle (Bernstein), a prominent paper company executive, and Maxwell L. Schultz, a business consultant.[2] He said in a video that he was a Christian by faith.[3][4]

As a young child, Dave was overweight (nicknamed "Pudge"), and was often bullied at school by classmates for his weight and appearance.[citation needed] He also suffered from dyslexia, which many of his teachers mistook for mental disabilities.[2]

Schultz began wrestling in junior high school at David Starr Jordan Middle School in Palo Alto coached by Robert Hoskins.[5] In 1977 as a senior at Palo Alto High School, he became state champion. That year he also won both his first national and international wrestling titles. As a high school senior he pinned 2-time NCAA champion and NCAA "Outstanding Wrestler" Chuck Yagla at the Great Plains Championships. His brother Mark started competing in sports in gymnastics, winning the Northern California All-Around Gymnastics Championships in his age group. In his junior year he switched to wrestling, and in his senior year won state.[2]

Wrestling career[edit]

High school career[edit]

Schultz's high school wrestling records included winning first place in the prestigious Great Plains freestyle tournament, which qualified him to compete on his first U.S. international team in the Tbilisi Tournament in then-Soviet Georgia.[2] The Tbilisi Tournament is considered by many experts in the wrestling community to be the "toughest tournament in the world."[2] Schultz earned a silver medal and was the highest-placing American at the tournament. Due to the timing of Tbilisi, Schultz was not able to compete in the high school tournaments that were required to qualify for the California State Championships, but his coach Ed Hart successfully petitioned the state coaches association to allow him to compete.[2] 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.[2] 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.[2]


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. His career collegiate record was 91–8 (30–4) at Oklahoma State University, (61–4) at the University of Oklahoma.[2]

World and Olympics career[edit]

Dave Schultz won 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[6] and a 1984 Olympic gold medal, competing with the United States team. Schultz won the gold medal at the 74 kg weight class over Martin Knosp from The Federal Republic of Germany.[7] He won four World Cup[8] and two Pan American Games titles, and is the only American ever to twice win the prestigious tournament in Tbilisi, Georgia. 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 both World and Olympic championships.[7]

Coaching and post professional career[edit]

At various times, Schultz also served as an assistant coach at the University of Oklahoma, Stanford University, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Among many other top U.S. wrestlers, Schultz trained 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle, who later became a professional wrestler.[4] In the 1990s, he worked as a coach for John Eleuthère du Pont's "Team Foxcatcher", which trained at a complex built on the du Pont family farm in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. In 1996, Schultz was murdered there by a mentally-ill John du Pont.[2]


Schultz trained at the Foxcatcher center while preparing for another Olympic bid, as well as coaching the wrestling team. On January 26, 1996, he was shot and killed by John Eleuthère du Pont, the owner of the center. Du Pont had exhibited bizarre and threatening behavior for an extended period preceding the murder.

Schultz was age 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, his siblings, and both parents.[9]

At the trial, neither the prosecution nor the defense suggested a motive for the crime. A jury rejected du Pont's plea of not guilty by reason of insanity; he was convicted as guilty but mentally ill.[10] Du Pont was sentenced by Judge Patricia Jenkins to 13–30 years incarceration and died in prison 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."[11]

The story of the events leading to his death are portrayed in the 2014 film Foxcatcher, with Schultz being portrayed by Mark Ruffalo.


After Schultz's murder, 20 former Foxcatcher athletes were left without training or coaching resources 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 the initial goal. It continued to train athletes in both men's and women's freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling until it closed in 2005.[12] 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).[12]

Representation in other media[edit]

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. ^ "DAVID SCHULTZ". californiabirthindex.org. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Schultz, Mark (October 13, 2013). "Foxcatcher: The True Story of my Brothers Mureder, John Du Ponts Madness, and the Quest for Olympic Gold". Missing or empty |url= (help)
  3. ^ http://intermatwrestle.com/articles/832/The-Life-and-Legacy-Dave-Schultz-Chapter-1-The-Day-Wrestling-Died
  4. ^ a b Palmer, Mark (January 26, 2006). "The Life and Legacy of Dave Schultz". Intermatwrestle.com.
  5. ^ Garcia, Edwin; Wykes, S.L. (8 September 2014). "The Foxcatcher murder: The true story". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Dave Shultz Gold | 1983 Worlds | Schultz vs Magamadov". cmptrained.com. January 28, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Official Report of the Games of the XXIII Olympiad Los Angeles, 1984. Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee.
  8. ^ "Dave Schultz Interview After 1984 Olympic Gold Medal win". Youtube.com. March 13, 2008.
  9. ^ "Tribute to David Schultz". Washington Post News. 1996. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  10. ^ CNN (25 February 1997). "Du Pont guilty but mentally ill in Olympic wrestler's murder". Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  11. ^ Longman, Jeré (December 9, 2010). "John E. duPont, Heir Who Killed an Olympian, Dies at 72". The New York Times.
  12. ^ a b Abbott, Gary. "RIP Dave Schultz Wrestling Club". Retrieved 8 December 2010.
  13. ^ "Honoree: Dave Schultz".
  14. ^ Angle, Kurt. "Twitter". Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  15. ^ "The Story Behind Foxcatcher: The Real-Life Murder of Dave Schultz". People Magazine. Time Inc. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  16. ^ Chai, Barbara (15 January 2015). "Oscar Nominee Mark Ruffalo: 'Channing Should Be Here in My Place'". The Washington Street Journal. Retrieved 27 March 2015.

External links[edit]