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Carlton Haselrig, Former Steeler and Pro-wrestler, dies at 54

PITTSBURGH Pa. – Carlton Haselrig, pro right guard and Pitt-Johnstown wrestling champ, passed away yesterday, July 22, at 54 years old.

Haselrig played for the Steelers in 1989 as an offensive right guard, making the Pro Bowl team in 1992. He also held six wrestling championships for the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, also known as Pitt-Johnstown. He later made it into their Athletics Hall of Fame.

Haselrig’s College Career

Haselrig grew up in Johnstown Pennsylvania and went to Johnstown High. Due to the lack of wrestling team at Johnstown High, he only wrestled during the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. In 1984, he won the state championship.

The began his collegiate career for Lock Haven University, where he played football, but due to a knee injury, was never able to take the field with the rest of his teammates. Haselrig later returned home to attend Pitt-Johnstown.

It was at Pitt-Johnstown where Haselrig would become the only wrestler in the history of the sport to win more the four NCAA championships, finishing a total of six.

“Back then you could win the D2 wrestling tournament and they let you wrestle in the D1 tournament. Dude had three D2 titles and 3 D1 titles.” Former wrestler for Norwin High School, Kevin Miller, explained to TGH reporters. Haselrig finished his college wrestling career with a win-loss record of 143-2-1.

Switching to Football

Haselrig turned his focus to playing American Football, after graduating. The Steelers drafted him in 1989, despite having little football game experience. Haselrig made three AFC playoff appearances, helping the Steelers win the 1992 AFC division title. That same year, Haselrig made the 1992 Pro Bowl team. He had one season with the Jets before retiring.

“He didn’t know just because you went to a small school you weren’t supposed to beat someone from a bigger school. To him that was like saying, this guy comes from a bigger house, he should beat you up. He didn’t believe in that.” Former Pitt-Johnstown wrestling coach, Pat Pecora, told ESPN in an interview.

“We accomplished something that might never be broken,” Pecora added.

During his later life, Haselrig would frequent his hometown of Johnstown, visiting the middle school wrestling team, and also an honorary Coach for Border Brawl Mason-Dixon Wrestling Classic in 2016

Surviving is his wife, Michelle, and their nine children.

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