2007 Induction Banquet

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007, at the Best Western Landmark Hotel in Metairie, Louisiana.

Emceed by Lee Roy Smith, the executive director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, and hosted by Jim Ravannack, a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Board of Governors.

Inductees: Pat Davis, Michael Gaffney, Brother Melchior Polowy and Cliff Strider.

2006 Inductees: Mike Gaffney, Pat Davis, Mr. Charles Digange (the headmaster at Holy Cross) - representing Brother Melchior Polowy and Cliff Strider.

[L-R] Coach Sam Harnsongkram ('04), Lee Roy Smith, 2007 inductee Pat M. Davis, Pat Davis, Jr., Jim Ravanack and former Buras coach Brian Biggs.

Patrick M. Davis

Lifetime Service to Wrestling

Patrick M. Davis attended Holy Cross High School in New Orleans.  He began wrestling in the eighth grade and won the state championship in the 98 lb. Division.  Coached by Brother Melchior, he won two more state titles during his high school career.  After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, Pat enrolled at LSU in June of 1966.

Pat began teaching at Buras High School in 1971 and started the wrestling program one year later.  This was the first public school in Plaquemines Parish to have a wrestling program.  Under his leadership Buras High School won five state titles and two New Orleans City titles.  Pat coached 37 individual state champions and 20 state Runners-Up.  He believed that his success was due in part to the close relationship he held with his wrestlers.  He instilled in his wrestlers that hard work and self-discipline are necessary to be successful not only in wrestling but in life.  Many of Coach Davis' wrestlers continue to promote the sport of wrestling.

[L-R] Lee Roy Smith, Jim Ravanack, 2007 inductee Michael Gaffney, Coach Sam Harnsongkram ('04) and Judge Charles Cusimano.

Michael Gaffney

Outstanding American from the State of Louisiana

Michael Gaffney began his wrestling career in 1969 at Jesuit High School.  At that time, Jesuit had won only one state championship.  By the time he graduated in 1973, he was undefeated with a 79-0 record, and Jesuit won the state championship his junior and senior years.

Mike was a two-time state champion, a three-time city champion and was voted the MVP for the city of New Orleans in the 1972 season.  He was also captain of the Jesuit wrestling team his senior year.

Mike also wrestled at LSU and went on to go to law school.  He is now an attorney in New Orleans, employing his aggressive wrestling style to the practice of law.

Mike has been married to Terry since 1980.  They have one son, Christopher, who also wrested for Jesuit, was also captain of the team his senior year, and also won the state championship twice, in the family tradition.

[L-R] Lee Roy Smith, Mr. Jim Hooter & Mr. Charles Digange (accepting for Brother Melchior) and Jim Ravanack.

The Brother Melchior Society

The Brother Melchior Society was founded in 1997 to honor Brother Melchior Polowy, a member of the Holy Cross High School family for over 50 years, and one of the principle founders of high school wrestling in Louisiana.

The Website is owned by Mr. Jim Hooter.


Brother Melchior Polowy

Lifetime Service to Wrestling

Brother Melchior Polowy, C.S.C., long considered the "founding Father" of wrestling in Louisiana, received the Lifetime Service Award for his coaching and his contributions to wrestling.  While completing a 55 year career of teaching religion, English, German and physical education, Brother Melchior served 29 years as coach of Holy Cross high School.  During those years his teams won 23 Louisiana state championships.  This accomplishment has been attributed to his introduction of weight training to high school sports along with his requirement that his athletics avoid flat-surface conditioning in favor of running the incline of the Mississippi River levee located behind the school.

The Louisiana State Wrestling Trophy bears Brother Melchior's name.  He has been honored by Wrestling USA Magazine as its "Man of the Year," by the N.W.C.A. and the Louisiana Coaches Association.  In 1983, he was inducted into the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame and his photo was added to the display at the Superdome.

Though clearly a sports hero, Brother Melchior is most fondly recalled by Holy Cross alumni for his insistence on proper attitude and dedication to both academics and his exemplary pious, prayerful life.

[L-R] Lee Roy Smith, Jim Ravanack, 2007 inductee Cliff Strider, Jerry Schmidt and Lee High Coach Bill Bofinger ('05).

Clifford R. Strider, III

Lifetime Service to Wrestling

Clifford R. Strider, III, graduated from East Jefferson High School, Metairie, Louisiana, in 1969.  He lettered in wrestling three years, placing third in the state championships in his junior year and winning the state championship his senior year.  He was also the captain of the wrestling team his senior year.  After graduating from high school he attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana where he was a starter as a freshman on the wrestling team.  Cliff transferred to LSU after his freshman year in college.  While at LSU he coached the Baton Rouge High School wrestling team.  Under his tenure at BRHS he coached two state champions.

Cliff has officiated wrestling since 1969, his freshman year in college.  He has participated in officiating 37 state championships.  Since 1986 Cliff has been the head official at the Louisiana State High School Wrestling Championships.  In addition to his duties as a referee, Cliff has been a rule interpreter for the Louisiana High School Athletic Association since 1986 and has conducted the annual rules clinics for coaches and referees since that time.  At various times Cliff was the assignment secretary and head of the area officials' association in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.  In addition to his officiating at the high school level, Cliff officiated NCAA wrestling from 1976-1984.

In 2000 Cliff was chosen as Louisiana's "Wrestling Man of the Year" by Wrestling USA Magazine.  Cliff received the Wayne Schmidt Memorial Golden Whistle Award in 2004.  In 2005 Cliff was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the LHSAA for his contributions to the sport of high school wrestling.

Induction Banquet Photographs (36) -- by Martin Muller


The 2007 Louisiana Wrestling Hall of Fame Inductees: Mike Gaffney, Pat Davis, Charles Digange for Brother Melchior Polowy and Cliff Strider.

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