Dave Porter, former University of Michigan wrestler who won two NCAA heavyweight titles in the mid-1960s, died Aug. 25 in Grand Ledge, Mich., at age 66, according to Amateur Wrestling News.
In its Oct. 15 issue, the magazine reported that Porter had been in ill health for a number of years.
Porter won the NCAA title in the unlimited weight class in 1966 and 1968. At the 1966 NCAAs, the Lansing, Mich. Native defeated Minnesota State-Moorhead’s Bob Billberg in the heavyweight finals, becoming the Wolverines’ eighth individual NCAA champ. Two years later, Porter beat Oregon State’s Jess Lewis in the title match at the 1968 NCAAs. Porter placed third at the 1967 NCAAs, earning All-American honors three straight seasons.
In addition, Porter earned back-to-back Big Ten conference titles in 1966 and 1967. He completed his Michigan mat career with a 51-3 overall record, including 37 falls.
Porter also made a name for himself in college football, playing defensive tackle for the Wolverines during the 1966 and 1967 seasons, scoring 46 career tackles. He was drafted by the NFL to play for the Cleveland Browns but tore a tendon and never played professionally.
After graduating from Michigan in 1968, Porter served as a teacher and coach at Grand Ledge High School until his retirement in 2005.
Porter is a member of a number of halls of fame, including the Michigan Hall of Honor in 1985, the Michigan Wrestling Association Hall of Fame in 1986, and the Michigan chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2010.
A memorial service for Porter was held Sept. 5 in Grand Ledge.
This is the second death this year of a member of the Wolverine wrestling team from the mid-1960s. Pete Cornell, 190-pound teammate of Porter’s at Michigan, was killed in a bicycling accident in Florida in late July.
Want to know more? For more photos and info on Dave Porter, check out NCAA Heavyweight Champs Yahoo group.
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