Simon Roberts

1988 Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame Inductee

Simon O. Roberts, the first African American to ever win an Iowa State High School wrestling championship, is also the first African American to be inducted into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Although Roberts made initial headlines while a high school wrestler for Davenport High School in the mid 1950’s, he went on to become a stellar performer for the University of Iowa.

Roberts, wrestling at 147 pounds, captured an NCAA crown in 1957 after placing second in the Big Ten tournament.  He returned to the Big Ten championships the following year and this time he was not to be denied, winning the conference title.

Roberts began his wrestling career by winning sectional and district titles at 133 pounds in 1953 and again at 133 pounds in 1954. He laid claim to being the first black champion in 1954, winning the state title at 133 pounds. That same year he was the YMCA invitational champion at 133 pounds. By the time his high school career was over, he had accumulated an impressive 43-6-3 record. That record was topped, however, at the University of Iowa, where he finished 62-8-4.

Roberts entered the coaching ranks in 1966, coaching wrestling at Alleman High School is Rock Island, Illinois, until 1970. In 1973, he took the position of Director of Adult Basic Education, Black Hawk College, in Moline, Illinois. He also found time to return to college, receiving a master’s degree in adult continuing education in 1981. He has been active in numerous public service organizations, including alcohol and drug abuse programs in the Davenport area.

Additional Honors & Achievements

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2007 Inductee National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Simon Roberts Featured Photo
High School
Davenport High School

CoachJim Fox


  • High School State Champion, 1954
  • YMCA Invitational Champion, 1954

University of Iowa

CoachDave McCusky


  • 3rd Big Ten 1956
  • 2nd Big Ten 1957
  • NCAA Champion, 1957
  • Big Ten Champion, 1958


Alleman Catholic High School, Rock Island, Illinois  1966-1970