Verne Gagne Defeats Dick Hutton in NCAA Tournament

by Mark Long

Verne Gagne - historyofwrestling.comIn a legendary battle between two amateurs who would soon rule the world of professional wrestling, future NWA World Heavyweight champion Dick Hutton loses in overtime to future AWA World Heavyweight champion Verne Gagne. The bout, which remains one of the most famous and historic collegiate matches in history, took place during the NCAA tournament finals in Fort Collins, Colorado. Hutton, an Olympian and a two-time national champion from Oklahoma A&M, was undefeated when he faced Gagne, who was also a former NCAA and three-time Big Ten champion. The two grapplers wrestled a defensive bout that went to an overtime draw, with neither man being able to manage a takedown while each scored one escape. Tied at 1-1 after regulation time expired, they went into overtime, with neither being able to score on the other. After the overtime period, Gagne was awarded the referee’s decision and captured the 1949 NCAA championship for the second time While he was understandably unhappy with the decision, Hutton held no personal grudge against Gagne and later cited Gagne as being harder to defeat than the men he’d faced as an Olympian. That said, after both had become pros, the two former collegiate rivals never faced off once inside of the squared circle.