Class of 2016
Normal (U-High) | Illinois State University
Eric Bates was first introduced to the sport of wrestling in 1962 in Jr. High PE Class. There were no organized wrestling clubs in the area at that time. He quickly caught on and became a four year varsity wrestler at University High School, under IWCOA Hall of Fame coach George Girardi. Eric compiled a 93-18 record and he was named Co-Captain and Co-MVP in both his junior and senior years. Eric was a two time state qualifier at 154 lbs. placing 3rd in 1968 and winning the IHSA State Championship in 1967.
After high school, Eric went on to wrestle for IWCOA Hall of Fame Coach Dr. Robert Koehler at Illinois State University, where he earned All-America status in each of his four years. He was team Captain and MVP his sophomore, junior and senior years. As a freshman and sophomore he qualified for the Collegiate Division (now DII) Nationals placing 6th at 154 lbs. and then winning the National Championship at 167 lbs. with a perfect 29-0 record. His junior and senior years, he qualified at the University level (now DI) and finished 5th and 6th respectively at the NCAA Tournament. Overall his record at Illinois State University was 94 and 14.
Eric was also active in Freestyle and Greco, spending most summers at tournaments and camps learning both styles. He was invited to several Olympic Development camps, and placed 4th at a number of International Qualifying Tournaments.
Eric would like to thank coaches and longtime friends, Ron Bessemer and Curt Sexton for the many hours they invested in him. He would also like to thank the many team-mates and friends who helped to make him a better wrestler and a better person.