Shawn Silvis was a champion during his time at Augusta. He was champion while at Central Oklahoma.
Now, he and his accomplishments will be remembered forever.
Silvis earned perhaps the greatest achievement of them all after being inducted into the NCAA Division II wrestling Hall of Fame last week. For Silvis, it isn't usually about the accolades, but he was honored—and a little surprised—when he found out.
"It's a pretty cool deal. I was more shocked than anything," Silvis said. "...These things are nice, though, the accolades. You don't really strive to be a Hall of Famer. It's just sort of one of those things that happens."
Wrestling was a part of his life from the time he was a kid, when his father Duane coached youth wrestling. As a kid, he was extremely energetic, so Silvis found a way to use that energy. He took to the sport and never looked back.
"He was my biggest fan and my best friend clear through when I got married," Silvis said of his dad.
A Class of 2000 graduate at Augusta High School, Silvis' talent showed early, and his hard work paid immediate dividends.
"He was never someone that overpowered you with physique. He was very strong and quick, but he beat people with technique and the will to win," said former Augusta head coach Terry Alley said.
He won a state championship his freshman year at 130 pounds. Injuries hampered his next two seasons, but that didn't stop him from finishing his junior season undefeated before losing at the state tournament.
"He came in with a lot of little league experience. He was pretty talented when he came in," Alley said. "He won the state title his freshman year and had goals of being a four-timer."
He capped his career with a brilliant, undefeated season culminated with a state championship in the 171-pound weight class, his second state title.
Wrestling wasn't the only thing Silvis did at AHS. He was involved with the theatre department and has vocal skills. That even boosted the Orioles' popularity with kids who might not otherwise have been interested in wrestling to support the program.
Silvis' success didn't stop in high school. Alley, who knew Central Oklahoma coach David James—Alley's brother was roommates with James in college—told James about Silvis. Once there, Silvis lived up to expectations. He was a four-time national qualifier, two-time national champion and a national runner-up. His career record was 131-28, and 16 of those losses were during his freshman year.
He wrestled at 165 pounds all four years. He helped UCO win two team national championships in the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
"That was way cooler than winning as an individual," he said about the first team championship.
Two of Silvis' teammates, Cole Province and Mark Dodgen, joined Silvis with Hall of Fame inductions. Province, who was a four-time national champion for the Bronchos, was really close with Silvis. The two trained together all the time. On road trips, they would share a room. They even drove each other to cut the weight they gained during the offseason.
"We were basically attached at the hip when it came to wrestling," Silvis said.
Dodgen also won two national championships during his tenure at UCO.
After graduating from UCO, Silvis went on to coach at Ark City for a couple seasons. Silvis even coached Scott Elliot, a two-time champion at Augusta who transferred to Ark City, where he earned another state championship under Silvis.
"He used me as motivation. It kind of set a bar of expectation for him," Silvis said.
Silvis later moved back to Oklahoma for other work and currently resides in Guthrie, just north of Edmond. He currently works in the oil and natural business, as well as youth ministry.
He's married to Lyndsey has two young boys, the oldest of whom already has started competing at youth wrestling.