Joe Solomon named to Pa. Sports Hall of Fame

Joe Solomon (behind) won an NCAA Championship at 167 pounds in 1954.

Owl Yearbook File Photo

Joe Solomon (behind) won an NCAA Championship at 167 pounds in 1954.

By Dominic Campbell, Senior Staff Writer

The late Joe Solomon, a former Pitt wrestler and 1954 national champion, was named to the 2020 class of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday.

With the induction, Solomon is now part of nine different halls of fame — including the Pitt Golden Panthers, the WPIAL and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Solomon started out in nearby Canonsburg, south of Pittsburgh, where he dominated in high school from 1947-51, earning PIAA state title, state runner-up and three-time WPIAL (District 7) champion honors.

He went on to become one of the best wrestlers in Pitt history, being named team MVP in his first and second years and serving as a captain his senior year. Solomon solidified his collegiate career by becoming a Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association champion four years in a row, and also by winning the national championship as a junior in 1954 in the 167-pound weight class.

At the time, Solomon was only the second Pitt wrestler to ever win an NCAA championship.

After he finished his time as a Panther, Solomon joined the United States Navy and became a United States Navy Champion as a wrestler. He eventually won a team title as the coach of the Naval Station Great Lakes wrestling team in 1956.

That same year, Solomon received an invitation to be on the 1956 United States Olympic Wrestling team.

Solomon, who passed away in 2017, is still one of only 11 wrestling national champions at Pitt, which most recently includes 2008 champion and now-head coach Keith Gavin in the 174-pound weight class.