Wrestling attorney Joan Fulp speaks at the upcoming Hall of Fame banquet – Connecticut Wrestling Online


Joan Fulp, an advocate for the growth of girl wrestling across the country, will speak at the upcoming Connecticut Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s upcoming introductory banquet in April. (Larry Slater photo courtesy Joan Fulp)

Joan Fulp, co-chair of USA Wrestling’s Girls High School Development Committee, will be the guest speaker for the upcoming introductory banquet for the Connecticut Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

In 2020, she became the first woman to be elected to the USA Wrestling Board of Directors as the second Vice President. Fulp has been a tireless advocate of women’s wrestling throughout her career.

The Connecticut Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame will recognize and host seven men and women on April 30, 2022 at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Conn.

Former Enfield coach Ben Aleks; Drew Black, head coach at Wesleyan; Mike Cunningham, head coach at Xavier, along with tournament organizer, supporter and historian Dr. Erich Doubek from New Milford honored; Sarah Jadach of Derby, State Chairperson of the United States Wrestling Chapter in Connecticut; the late Frank Kapral, former Coast Guard trainer, official, author and mentor; and Bryan McCarty, head trainer at Platt High in Meriden. Everyone is honored with a Lifetime Service Award.

Tickets are now available on the Chapter’s TicketLeap website.

Fulp, who lives in California and was inducted into the California Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2017, has been part of the wrestling community for years.

She taught and coached women’s gymnastics at Central Michigan University for three years and then spent 24 years as an elementary school and adapted physical education teacher in Half Moon Bay, California. Joan continues to work with grassroots committees, state wrestling associations, and inter-school offices to support and develop the growth of girl wrestling at the high school level across the country.

Her late husband Lee was a two-time Olympian (1956, 1960) and a Greco-Roman coach on the US wrestling team from 1980. Fulp worked with her husband on the staging of tournaments, fundraising for athletes and organizing trips to competitions for both Skyline College and the San Francisco Peninsula Grapplers Club teams.

Her two daughters Sara (Fulp-Allen) Bahoura and Katherine (Fulp-Allen) Shai spent a total of 13 years as members of the USA Wrestling Senior National Team. The duo combined to win five national college titles.

“Why should a sport that develops focus, determination, self-reliance, mental strength, and confidence be available to only half the population?” Fulp told the Half Moon Bay Review in California in 2017 when asked why it matters is to advance women’s wrestling.

In 2020, Fulp was named USA Wrestling Woman of the Year by Andrea Yamamuto of Washington State for her work helping the growth of girl wrestling across the country.

“You are ready to invest time, energy and knowledge in educating the public and decision-makers,” US women’s national team coach Terry Steiner told USA Wrestling in 2020 when Fulp and Yamamuto were recognized. “They show why it’s a positive thing, not just for women in sports, but for men in sports and wrestling as a whole.

“You hit the mark to show young children the value of sport for society,” said Steiner. “They are our unsung heroes.”

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been reporting on sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 35 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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