Two-Time All-American Dale Ketelsen Passes Away
AMES, Iowa –Dale Ketelsen, a two-time All-American wrestler at Iowa State, passed away at the age of 78 March 22 at a local nursing home in Baton Rouge, La.
The Osage, Iowa, native was a three-year letterwinner for the Cyclones, earning All-America honors his final two seasons after placing third at 157 pounds in 1957 and second at 157 pounds in 1958.
Ketelsen wrestled under legendary head coach Harold Nichols and was a major contributor on Nichols’ first two teams to finish in the top-three at the NCAA Championships. The Cyclones finished third in 1957 and second in 1958.
Ketelsen, along with teammates Ron Gray and Les Anderson, helped upstart one of the finest runs in collegiate wrestling. After his graduation in 1959, Iowa State finished outside the top-three just three times in the next 26 seasons under Nichols, winning seven NCAA titles.
He was also a member of the Iowa State baseball team which advanced to the College World Series in 1957.
After college, Ketelsen went on active duty for six months in the United States Marine Corps before returning to Iowa State to work as an assistant coach under Nichols for two seasons.
After a head coaching stint at Riverside-Brookfield High School in Illinois, Ketelsen became the first head wrestling coach a Louisiana State University, where he coached for 10 seasons (1968-78).
Under Ketelsen, the Tigers crowned 15 individual conference champions. Ketelsen also served as an active member of the NCAA wrestling rules committee while at LSU.
Ketelsen is well known for his contributions to promoting high school wrestling in the state of Louisana. The wrestling world acknowledged his work to grow the sport, as the National Wrestling Hall of Fame honored him with the Lifetime Service To Wrestling award in 2005. The Lifetime Service to Wrestling honor is given in recognition of years of dedication to the development of leadership and citizenship in young people through the sport of wrestling.
Ketelsen is survived by his wife of 52 years, Pat Ballard Ketelsen; 2 sons: Craig Ketelsen of Covington and Erik Ketelsen of Atlanta, Ga.; and, one daughter, Penny Kelly of Nashville. Also he is survived by five grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Alzheimer’s Services, 3772 North Blvd., Baton Rouge, La. 70806.