Lehigh's glorious wrestling tradition of crowning National Champions began in 1931 when Johnny Engel captured the championship at 118 pounds.
Engel was the school's first national titlist, winning in the finals by fall. The championship capped a career which saw Engel finish third at the EIWA Championships in 1931 and second in 1930. Engel's success wasn't just limited to Lehigh as he was also a member of the 1936 United States Olympic Team. Unfortunately for Engel he broke his collarbone and was unable to compete. However, he did see Olympic action, but not as a competitor. Engel was a referee in Rome at the 1964 Olympic Games.
Engel's love for wrestling continued throughout his life as he continually coached at Billy Sheridan's wrestling camps each summer as well as at Rippowam High School in Stanford, Ct. For all of his efforts and accomplishments, Engel was inducted into the United States Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Engel, a retired high school principal, presently resides in Courtland Gardens Health Center in Stamford, Ct.