ST. LOUIS, Mo. — During a speech one time, Northern Iowa coach Doug Schwab questioned what rock somebody was hiding under if they did not know about Sandy Stevens.
For legends of wrestling fans, Stevens is most known for her 34 years as announcer at the NCAA Division I and multiple world championships. The UNI alum and hall of famer is considered one of the top ambassadors for the sport of wrestling and is a huge supporter of the Panther program.
Stevens’ lifelong passion for the sport of wrestling, which begun back when her late husband, Bob “Bear” Stevens needed an announcer at his first Cedar Rapids Kennedy dual meet, will get recognized once again on April 10 when Stevens becomes the first woman inducted into Iowa’s Wrestling Hall of Fame in Cresco.
“It did take me by surprise. It did,” said Stevens, who continues her support of UNI wrestling in a variety of capacities while living in the Chicago area. “I didn’t even know I was being considered.
“I was surprised (to be the first woman inducted), because I know how many women in the state of Iowa are dedicated to the sport of wrestling. I’m happy to represent them, too.”
Stevens was in the stands this week supporting her Panthers. She also supports UNI wrestling with her Pledges of Pins initiative that she started in 2007 and with the Bear and Sandy Stevens Head Coach endowment that is used to support Schwab’s salary.
It is something she had not been able to do during her time announcing the NCAA Championships.
“It’s been great,” she said. “I never could cheer for them when I was announcing although they always know I’m wearing my Panthers (as she showed her necklace and ear rings that are adorned with golden panthers.)”
Stevens will be a part of an Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame class that includes brothers Joel and Justin Greenlee, who join five other brother combos that are in the hall of fame.
The Greenlees were both state champions at Waverly and All-Americans at UNI.
“Their mom (Jean) and I go way back,” Stevens said. “She used to always bring me cups of ice before the championships. It is such an honor to go in with those two great wrestlers.”
Stevens will also in the limelight in late April. She has been invited to attend the premier of American Wrestler ‘The Wizard’ at the Chinese Grauman Theater in Los Angeles, a movie she plays a small part in as an announcer at the California state championships. That movie will be in select theaters nationally on May 3.
Tickets are available for the Hall of Fame ceremonies through the Cresco Chamber of Commerce at (563) 547-3434.