Russell Bush

1987 Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame Inductee

May 20, 1925 – October 6, 2009

Russell Bush started his high school wrestling career at West Waterloo High School under coach Finn B. Erickson. He soon became an outstanding wrestler and a regular on the 1941 varsity team in his sophomore year. He finished the season as both Mississippi Valley Conference Champion and Big Seven Conference Champion in the 112 pound class. He also won the YMCA tournament in Waterloo at 115 pounds and placed third in the state AAU tournament. Russell repeated as Mississippi conference and Big Seven Conference Champion and also qualified for the state tournament by winning the district in 1943.

In 1943, when World War II was in progress, Bush enlisted in the Air Force. He enrolled in Iowa State Teachers College (UNI) in 1946 and was coached by Dave McCusky. He became one of Coach McCusky’s outstanding college wrestlers. He won all of his dual meet matches and placed second in the 136 pound division. In 1947 he culminated the season by winning the National Collegiate Athletic Association championship at 128 pounds.

A knee injury limited his wrestling activity during 1948 and 1949 but he was able to wrestle in the last dual meet and later that year won the highly regarded National AAU championship at 135 pounds.

Bush was involved in the college coaching field from 1949 to 1972. He was graduate assistant at Purdue University from 1949 to 1950 and head coach at Southern Illinois from 1950 to 1952, U.S. Army Military Academy, West Point, in 1953, and at Eastern Michigan from 1957 to 1972.

Russell Bush Featured Photo
High School
West High, Waterloo, Iowa

CoachFinn B. Eriksen

Iowa State Teacher's College (UNI)
  • High School State Tournament Qualifier
  • Waterloo YMCA Tournament Champion
  • Big Seven & Mississippi Valley Champion
  • Undefeated in dual meets and NCAA Runner up at 136# in 1946
  • NCAA Champion in 1947
  • AAU Champion in 1949
  • Coached at Purdue, Southern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, and U.S. Military Academy