Class of 2004
Joe Pedersen has spent most of his life in Wrestling. He began in Arlington High School, under the coaching of Hall of Famer, Bob Emmons. He then moved on to Lewis College and was named captain of the firs Lewis College Wrestling team.
After graduating from college, he began teaching in Darien where he spent his entire career as Teacher, Guidance Counselor, Assistant Principal, Principal and Assistant Superintendent. During all of these title changes, Joe was able to still remain the Coach at Eisenhower Junior High School. He began a small program at Cass School in 1966, and from there developed a program at the Eisenhower Junior High School starting in 1969. The program still exists and feeds two high school programs: Downers Grove South and Hinsdale South High Schools. Joe is still helping out at the junior high and still enjoys the wrestling room practices.
Over the years in Wrestling, Joe has been instrumental in the development of the Illinois Kid Wrestling Federation. He was a West Chicago Sectional Director, the Vice President and President. In fact he was the President for 3 terms and began the IKWF Open held at Hinsdale Central High School the first year of its existence. Joe was also the first President to move the IKWF State Finals to a University (Northwestern) because of the increase in the numbers of wrestlers who qualified.
During the late 1980’s, Dr. Pedersen moved from the IKWF to the IESA. This was a financial move for his school. He became involved immediately as a Regional and Sectional Tournament Manager. He would stay in the IESA until his retirement in June of 2000. His teams have had tremendous success and many of his wrestlers have gone on to not only be successful in high school and college, but have become successful coaches.
Also, while coaching, Joe was an IHSA Wrestling Referee (over 30 years of service). He worked many tournaments in the area. He has had numerous Regionals and Sectionals. He has also worked the State Duals and the Individual State Finals. He began to also work at the State Tournament as a Bench Official and has been named the Tournament Manager for the State Finals. This year was his 25th year of service to the IHSA state tournament.
Joe has been named “Friend of Wrestling” several times by the IWCOA. He was inducted into the IWCOA Hall of Fame in 1996 and was the Grand Marshal for the IHSA State Finals in 2002. He was given the honor by the IWCOA as Man of the Year in 1995, and still continues to work 011 the Executive Committee of the IWCOA as the Banquet Chair and as a member of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
Joe has participated in many facets of the sport of Wrestling including assisting at the 1980 Junior Nationals, the Midlands Tournament, the Classic Duals, and Officials Clinics.
On April 4, 2004 the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum honored Dr. Pedersen for Lifetime Achievement to Wrestling.