Russell K. Riegel, one of the greatest coaches in New Jersey wrestling history, died Thursday at the age of 90 in Kentucky according to numerous sources.

Riegel won 533 matches at Hunterdon Central, turning the Red Devils into a state power. He had a career record of 533-89-6 in his 35 years as head coach at Hunterdon Central where he also served as the school’s athletic director for 35 years, cheerleading coach for 20 years, cross country coach for four years and freshman football coach for eight years.

He is a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Gettysburg College and Hunterdon Central halls of fame.

He is believed to be the second-winningest wrestling coach in U.S. history with 838 career victories.

At Hunterdon Central, Riegel had:

  • 11 state champions
  • 70 NJSIAA plcewinners
  • 5 undefeated teams
  • 6, 100-win wrestlers• a 49-match winning streak

He also founded the Hunterdon Central Invitational Christmas Tournament, which is the longest-running tournament in the country.

After leaving Hunterdon Central, Riegel went on to coach at Harrison County High School in Kentucky where he accumulated another 305 wins.

At Harrison, he coached two Kentucky state champions and four All-Americans.

Riegel graduated from Warren Hills High School where he was a four-time state finalist and two-time New Jersey state champion. At Gettysburg College he had a career wrestling record of 63-1 and was a four-time Middle Atlantic Champion. He also played baseball at Gettysburg.

Joe Zedalis may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @josephzedalis. Like HS sports on Facebook.


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