Familiar Pressure – Oklahoma State’s Chris Perry

Familiar Pressure – Oklahoma State’s Chris Perry

(Preview tease of article in WIN’s Nov. 8th Printed Edition: By Mike Finn)

There are wrestling families and then there are wrestling families. And when it comes to Oklahoma State University, there are wrestling families-times-two.


Oklahoma State’s Chris Perry (left) twice defeated Illinois’ Jordan Blanton, who is coached by Chris’ older brother, Mark Perry.

While the most historical and familiar wrestling name in Stillwater, Okla., is Smith,  don’t forget the Perrys.

On the mat….the Smith family consisted of four brothers — Lee Roy, John, Pat and Mark — who combined for 16 All-American honors and seven championships. Mark Perry Sr. is the father of Mark Jr. — a four-time All-American and two-time champ from Iowa — and Chris, who became an All-American last March.

“With Chris earning an All-American honor last year, that gives us nine,” laughed the older Mark, adding only the Churellas of Michigan rival the two-generation college wrestling performance of the Perrys.

But what makes this story about wrestling dynasties so unique is the family connection between the Smiths and Perrys. That happened over 30 years ago when Mark married his high school sweetheart of Del City, Okla., — Kathy Smith — before Mark or his new brother-in-law, John, competed as teammates at Oklahoma State in the mid-1980s. This story was first introduced nearly a decade ago when the younger Mark startled the wrestling world when he announced he’d rather wrestle at Iowa, where one of his NCAA titles came against former OSU star Johnny Hendricks with uncle John Smith in the opposite coaching corner.

And the story has arisen again … with an ironic twist at national events: Mark, an assistant coach at Illinois, can be found coaching Illini — like second-ranked Jordan Blanton — to beat his brother Chris, who is rated No. 1 at 174 pounds as a redshirt junior.

“Mark has a job to do and I have a job to do,” said Chris, who beat Blanton for third place in last year’s NCAA tournament. “I had the same thing when I wrestled Penn State’s Quentin Wright and Mark was working there. I feel like I prepare myself for any situation that I am in.”

And there was no place that Chris Perry — a four-time state champion from Stillwater High School — wanted to wrestle than at Oklahoma State.

“He grew up around Stillwater, while Mark left when he was 15,” refered the older Mark to when his oldest son left Oklahoma to wrestle four years at Blair Academy (N.J.), where he earned All-American honors.


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