US Camps-Wrestling founder and owner, Steve Fraser, is no stranger to the world of wrestling. In fact, he is one of the most well-known names associated with the sport! In addition to being the first American gold medalist in Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling, Fraser has coached thousands of aspiring champions. Most famously, it was Fraser’s training and guidance that helped lead Rulon Gardner to his spectacular victory over a seemingly invincible opponent – Alexander Karelin from Russia. The mental toughness and determination enforced in the gold medal Olympic round is the same passed on to kids participating in any one of the US Camps clinics
Fraser began his coaching career as the assistant wrestling coach at the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University. He joined USA Wrestling as the National Greco-Roman Coach in October of 1995, serving as the full-time professional coach and works to develop Greco-Roman programs in the United States. To date, some highlights of his coaching career include:
- The 1996 Olympic Games, where the U.S. Team won three silver medals.
- The 2000 Olympic Games, where the U.S. Team won a gold, silver and bronze medal.
- The 2001 World Championships, the U.S. Team had its best performance ever, to date, taking home the third-place trophy. A U.S. Greco-Roman Team had never won a team medal at a World Championship. The 2001 squad also had a World Champion in Rulon Gardener and silver medalists Brandon Paulson and Matt Lindland.
- The 2006 World Championships, where the U.S. Team placed third as a team and had three individual world medals, including Joe Warren’s gold medal.
- The 2007 World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, where the United States claimed it’s first-ever World Team Title in Greco-Roman wrestling by defeating powerhouse Russia by one team point. The team featured three individual medalists; Brad Vering, Harry Lester and Dremiel Byers.
- Fraser has been responsible for 23 U.S. world and/or Olympic medals since he took over as USA’s head coach.
As an athlete, Steve Fraser won a gold medal at 90 kg (198 lbs) at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, becoming the first U.S. wrestler to ever win an Olympic gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling. He won five matches on the way to the title, including a 1-1 criteria decision over Ilia Matei of Romania in the gold-medal finals. Among his key victories was a 4-1 decision over three-time World Champion Frank Andersson of Sweden. He also won a gold medal at the 1983 Pan-American Games, was a member of the 1979 and 1982 U.S. World Teams, claimed a U.S. Nationals titles in Greco-Roman in 1981 and 1983 and was a U.S. Nationals freestyle champion in 1984.
Fraser was a Michigan state high school champion at Hazel Park High School, later attending the University of Michigan where he was a two-time NCAA All-American. He received his bachelor’s degree in physical education. He was named USA Wrestling Athlete of the Year in 1984, has been inducted into the Michigan Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Michigan Amateur Sports Hall of Fame and, in 1994, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Through years of dedication to wrestling, as an athlete and a coach, Steve Fraser has not only changed the sport itself but has affected the lives of many young athletes who trained with him. MMA fighters Randy Couture, Dan Henderson and Matt Lindland all were coached by Fraser and they are some of the toughest athletes in the world. Providing a positive environment where nothing is impossible, Steve Fraser is someone who can help every athlete become a champion!