Mike Retires from the Wrestling Museum

Sunday, December 6th, 2009 | Wrestling

Mike retired on October 31st from the Wrestling Museum. After founding the museum, he spent 11 years as the Executive Director. Here is a press release from the Museum:

The executive director of the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum (DGIWIM) is stepping down after leading the organization for over a decade. Mike Chapman founded the museum in 1998 following a successful career in journalism that spanned three decades to become the museum’s full-time executive director in 2002.

“I have devoted a large part of my life to preserving the history of wrestling at all levels, amateur and professional, and the museum was the culmination of that effort,” said Chapman.

A native of Waterloo, Chapman ran the museum’s day-to-day operations with his wife Bev. The museum opened on September 19, 1998, in Newton, Iowa, as the International Wrestling Institute and Museum before reopening in Waterloo on January 12, 2007.

Dan Gable’s name was added to the museum name as a way of honoring this country’s most influential wrestling figure and Waterloo’s most famous resident.

Chapman authored over 500 newspaper and magazine articles on the sport of wrestling. He has been named “National Wrestling Writer of the Year” five times, by four different amateur wrestling organizations.

Additionally, he is the producer of three wrestling videos and the author of 21 books, 14 of them on wrestling. His knowledge of the sport and its historical roots are legendary, even among the sport’s most prolific and experienced journalists.

In 1994, Chapman created Wrestling International Newsmagazine, a publication dedicated to the promotion of amateur wrestling.

“Mike Chapman not only established the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum, but he also launched WIN Magazine and the WIN Memorabilia Show, as well as creating the Hodge Trophy which annually recognizes the outstanding collegiate wrestler in the nation,” said Bryan Van Kley, current publisher of WIN. “Mike’s impact on the sport of wrestling will be felt for generations to come.”

A member of five halls of fame, Chapman received the prestigious Order of Merit for lifetime achievement from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla., in 2007.

In 2002, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cauliflower Alley Club, an organization of boxers, wrestlers and movie actors.

Among Chapman’s greatest achievements was restoring the museum after a catastrophic flood on June 10, 2008. Much of the museum was destroyed, but Mike and Bev Chapman, along with the help of many others, had the museum up and running in just seven months.

The museum held its grand reopening on January 9, 2009.

“Everyone in the sport of wrestling owes Mike and Bev Chapman a debt of gratitude for creating the museum, sustaining it, bringing it to Waterloo, and rebuilding it after the devastating flood of 2008,” said Bob Buckley, president of the Gable Museum board. “The Board of Directors and wrestling fans everywhere wish them the very best in their retirement.”

Upon his retirement, which was effective on October 31, 2009, Chapman commented, “Now, it is time for Bev and me to turn our thoughts to other pursuits. I have written over 20 books and have four others I am presently working on. In addition, we started our own magazine entitled Iowa History Journal and we are busy with that.”

While Chapman is retiring, there is little evidence of him slowing down. In addition to his books and magazine, he also has several screenplays under consideration in Hollywood.

Replacing Chapman as executive director is Kyle Klingman. Klingman served as the museum’s associate director from 2002 through 2008. He returns to the museum following a one-year stint with Wrestling 411, a media organization devoted to covering wrestling at all levels.

Klingman is also a featured columnist and writer for WIN magazine. He was named journalist of the year by WIN in 2008.

“I am delighted that the board hired Kyle Klingman to take over as executive director,” said Chapman. “He worked at my side for six years, and truly understands the goals of the museum as well as anyone possibly could. He has the respect of everyone in the wrestling world and has developed into a superb writer and historian. The museum is in very good hands.”

1 Comment to Mike Retires from the Wrestling Museum

Robert Lucarelli
April 5, 2011

I always wanted to meet Mike Chapman…I’m sure he will be missed. Thank you Mike for all the hard work you put into researching the history of Pro Wrestling.You will always be remembered as the man who wrote about the Greatest wrestler of all time, Frank Gotch….I wish you and your family the best of luck! May God bless you.

Take care,
Robert Lucarelli

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