Sept. 24, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Former University of Michigan wrestler Mark Churella (1976-79) has been named the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Ufer Award, presented annually by the Letterwinners M Club. Churella will be honored at the Alumni Association Homecoming Brunch on Saturday, Oct. 13, at Oosterbaan Fieldhouse.
Since 1981, the Ufer Award has been presented each year to a Letterwinners M Club member in recognition for his or her outstanding service to the University of Michigan Athletic Program.
Considered among the greatest wrestlers in Michigan program history, Churella reigns as the Wolverines' lone three-time NCAA champion, capturing the 150-pound crown in back-to-back seasons (1977, '78) before moving up two weight classes to win at 167 pounds as a senior (1979). A four-time All-American, Churella was named the most outstanding wrestler at the 1978 NCAA tournament.
Churella was also a two-time Big Ten Conference champion (1977, '78) and the Wolverines' 1979 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient. At one time the U-M school record holder in career wins (132), career falls (41) and single-season wins (44), Churella still ranks among Michigan's leaders in all three categories. His career winning percentage of .910 (132-13) lists third in U-M program history.
He spent four years on the Michigan coaching staff, acting as a graduate assistant (1985-87) and more recently, serving one year as a volunteer coach (2007-08). Churella's three sons, Mark Jr., Ryan and Josh, all wrestled collegiately at Michigan. Ryan (2003-06) and Josh (2005-08) were both three-time NCAA All-Americans, while Mark Jr. earned a varsity letter at Michigan in 2001.
Churella was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1999. He is also a member of the Michigan Athletics Department's Hall of Honor and is a charter member of the state of Michigan Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423