Antonio "Tony" Russo
Antonio "Tony" Russo is an Italian American wrestler, teacher, and coach in the state of Oregon. He was born in Roccarainola, Italy in 1940 and emigrated to the U.S. by himself as a 10-year-old boy on the USS Independence. After spending a year in Brooklyn, New York he was sent for by an uncle in Portland, Oregon and Portland is where he would settle.
Antonio graduated from David Douglas High School in Portland and eventually went on to attend Arizona State University. In his years as a collegiate athlete he was a Western Athletic Conference champion for Arizona State University as well as a finalist in the 1964 Olympic Trials. Tony was appointed team captain of the Sun Devil's Wrestling squad leading them along with Coach Ted Bredehoft, to a Western Athletic Conference team title in 1965.
As a high school coach, Tony’s Tigers of Newberg won 18 Conference titles, seven Oregon OSAA State titles within 10 years (1986-1997), and eight Oregon State Dual Meet Championships. The nation took notice when Amateur Wrestling News ranked the Tigers of Newberg as 2nd in the nation during the late 1980s. Tony’s coaching honors include, Oregon All-Sports Coach of the Year, Oregon Wrestling Coach of the Year, Oregon Cultural Exchange All-Star Coach to Italy, 1979, and in May of 2003 Tony was inducted into the Oregon Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
In 2012, Antonio, via interviews with his daughter, Tonya Russo Hamilton, published a book titled, Wrestling with the Devil: A Story of Sacrifice, Survival and Triumph, From the Hills of Naples to the Hall of Fame via Gemelli Press which recounts Antonio's story of emigration from Italy and success in the sport of wrestling.