MHS alum, wrestling hall-of-famer Larry Jackson celebrated

Wrestling hall-of-famer and Bobcat alum Larry Jackson speaks during a celebration of his successful career Thursday evening.

Four decades after graduating from Marshalltown High School, Class of 1981 alum Larry Jackson returned to the Roundhouse on Thursday evening as his remarkable wrestling and coaching career was celebrated.

Jackson was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Iowa Chapter last fall, and he joined fellow Bobcat legends in being named to the MHS Hall of Pride ahead of Thursday’s varsity wrestling meet against Ankeny.

“This award means so, so much to me,” Jackson said. “The people here at Marshalltown High School made a big difference in my life, and I can never, never thank them enough. Thank you all for celebrating this with me.”

The Bobcat alum said the love and care shown by his teachers and coaches at MHS were crucial in shaping him into the person he is today.

One of those key figures, Jackson’s high school wrestling coach Phil Henning, said he is incredibly proud of his former pupil. He said Jackson has done the Bobcats proud not only with his accomplishments on the mat, but also with his work as a coach and educator at Ballard-Huxley, Des Moines East High School, and Hammer Time Wrestling Academy.

“You’ve represented us so well. Thank you,” Henning said.

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte – a fellow Class of 1981 MHS graduate – said the accolades Jackson has earned have been well-deserved, adding Jackson is an inspiring person, educator, and mentor.

“Larry, welcome home. It’s an honor and a privilege to have you back,” Dr. Schutte said. “We couldn’t be prouder of you.”

Larry Jackson (right) is joined by his wife, Tonia Jackson (center) and Marshalltown Schools Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte (left) during Thursday’s tribute to Jackson’s accomplishments as a wrestler and mentor.

Jackson has earned numerous accolades since he first stepped onto the mat as a Bobcat wrestler. Those accomplishments include:

Student-athlete accolades

  • MHS Wrestling Team Captain and Most Outstanding Wrestler – 1981
  • Fifth-place finish at State Wrestling in the 155 lb. weight class – 1981
  • NJCAA National Runner Up (33-2) – 1982
  • Selected to the 1982 All-Iowa Team
  • NJCAA National Team Qualifier-Third Place – 1983
  • 1983 Outstanding Wrestler – District Tournament
  • 1983 NJCAA National Champion (37-0) – first ever National Champion from Ellsworth 
  • 1983 Pan American Champion – Cali, Colombia
  • 2X NJCAA All American (1982 & 1983) and 
  • ISU Varsity Wrestling Letter earner – 1985 & 1986
  • Third-place finish in the Big 8 Wrestling Tournament in the 150 lb. weight class – 1985
  • NCAA Wrestling Championship Tournament qualifier – 1985

Coaching accolades

  • Coached 21 state qualifiers, four state place-winners, and one state champion in nine years at Ballard-Huxley
  • Coached 33 state qualifiers and eight state place-winners in 16 years at Des Moines East High School
  • Conference Coach of the Year – 2007

Career honors

  • Inducted into the Community College Hall of Fame – 1997
  • Inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Iowa Chapter – 2020
  • Inducted into the MHS Hall of Pride – 2021

Congratulations to Larry Jackson – you are a great role model for Bobcat students and we are proud to call you a Bobcat!

Larry Jackson’s family joins him in celebration at the Roundhouse Thursday evening. Pictured, from left: Alyonna Busch (daughter), Chelsea Jackson (daughter), Larry Jackson, Malachi Jackson (grandson), Tonia Jackson (wife), and Alexa Jackson (daughter).