ATHENS, Ohio -- The Mid-American Conference announced today the 2017 MAC Hall of Fame Induction Class as six new members will be inducted in the MAC Hall of Fame on Wednesday, May 31 during the MAC Honor's Dinner at the Cleveland Renaissance Hotel. Included in the class was Ohio wrestling great Dwight Gardner.
The full class includes Jen Brown-Mascari (Ball State, field hockey), Dwight Gardner (Ohio, wrestling), Antonio Gates (Kent State, men's basketball), Betsy Kuhle (Western Michigan, women's tennis), Dan Majerle (Central Michigan, men's basketball) and Ron Oestrike (Eastern Michigan, baseball).
Gardner was the 1998 NCAA National Champion at the 158-lb weight class and during his collegiate career at Ohio was a four-year letter winner, was team MVP in both his junior and senior seasons and was named the Green and White Senior Student-Athlete of the Year in 1998. Gardner finished his career with a 123-27 record and was a first ballot selection to the Ohio Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.
Gardner became the fourth NCAA wrestling individual national champion when he beat No. 1 ranked Hardell Moore of Oklahoma State by a 7-1 decision to become the 1998 NCAA 158-lb. National Champion.
That season, Gardner went 32-1 and maintained a top 10 national ranking throughout the season and defeated the top two seeds in his 5-0 run at the NCAA Tournament. His win helped Ohio to a ninth-place team finish in the NCAA that season. Finishing seventh as a junior in the 1997 NCAA Championships, Gardner was a two-time All-American and three-time NCAA qualifier with an at-large selection as a sophomore after finishing as the runner-up in the 1995 MAC Championship.
Gardner won the 158-lb. MAC Championship in both his junior and senior seasons, and was named MAC Wrestler of the Year and MAC Tournament Outstanding Wrestler in both seasons. As a freshman, he finished third in the MAC.
Gardner earned his degree in 1998 in business information systems and currently resides in West Palm Beach, Fla., with his wife, Suzette, and sons Ethan and Hayden.