Class of 2001
In 1952 Lew Hankenson was introduced to the sport of wrestling by his father, Homer, who was an assistant for Ott Bay at Waukegan High School. He competed in football, wrestling, and track & field all four years at Zion-Benton High School and was captain of all three sports his senior year.
As a walk on at the University of Illinois, Lew wrestled all four years for B.R. Patterson. He lettered in 1960, 1962 and 1963. He was a starter at 177 lb. for two seasons and won the Central AAU title in 1960 & 1962.
In 1963 he began teaching at Oswego High School, coaching varsity track & field and F-S wrestling. In 1964 he moved to Lyons Township High School and coached F-S wrestling for eight years.
Lew moved to Charleston in 1972 and took a position as an assistant football coach. Charleston did not have wrestling at the time. In 1973 he assisted Renny Garshelis in the development of a youth wrestling program for elementary and junior high school students. He served as an assistant from 1974-1976 when Charleston began its wrestling program and then coached the intramural program from 1976-1980 until budget cuts forced the dropping of the Charleston program. From 1980-1986 he served as the volunteer head coach for the high school wrestling club.
In 1986 wrestling became a funded sport at Charleston, and Lew continued serving as the head coach. He coached three state qualifiers and two place winners. Three wrestlers competed for Team Illinois in the Junior Nations.
Lew was named as a “Friend of Wrestling” by the I.W.C.O.A. in 1987. He has served on the executive board of the I.W.C.O.A. as the Central Illinois coaches representative. He has also served on the I.W.F. Board of Directors