Tommy Evans

Class of 1949
Inducted 2017

tommy evans

Jay Thomas Evans was a two time state champion wrestler for Will Rogers High School. At the University of Oklahoma his wrestling career included a 42-1 record. He was the NCAA Champion and outstanding wrestler in 1952 and 1954. He won three AAU national titles as well as a PAN American Games gold medal. While still in college, Tommy wrestled in the 1951 Helsinki Olympic Games winning a silver medal. He competed again in the 1956 Games in Melbourne in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman. He went on to be a national champion University of Oklahoma wrestling coach and U.S. Olympic coach. Evans coached the Sooners to an NCAA national championship in his first season in 1960. After two years as head coach, he was recalled to active duty in 1961 serving as a captain in the Air Force. He returned to OU in 1962 and won another national title. During his career at OU, he coached 30 individual conference champions, 16 individual national champions, 56 NCAA All-Americans and took the wrestling team to two Big Eight conference championships.

In 1968 he was head coach of the U.S. Olympic freestyle team in Mexico City finishing fourth. He was named College Wrestling Coach of the Year in 1963 and inducted into the Helms Foundation Hall of Fame in 1965, and named Wrestling’s Man of the Year in 1968. He was later inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1976 as a wrestler and as a coach. Evans also served in both the Air Force and Army as a pilot. In 2011, he was posthumously inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. In an article written about his induction, he was described as Superman and Clark Kent – fierce and unrelenting on the mat – a gentle giant off the mat.