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Brother Melchior Polowy – Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame

Wrestling, 1944-71
Holy Cross High School

Inducted: 1982

Recognized as one of the founders of high school wrestling in Louisiana, Brother Melchior organized the first wrestling team at Holy Cross in 1944. His team defeated Newman in the first wrestling dual meet reported in Louisiana. The New Orleans Athletic Club sponsored the state’s first prep wrestling tournament that same year and the Tigers won it, claiming their first state title. From 1944 to 1968, he won 23 Louisiana state championships. The only years that Melchior’s Tigers didn’t win were 1951, when his team did not compete due to the coach being ill, and in 1968, when East Jefferson edged Holy Cross by two points.

“He was truly a legend in this area and the father of wrestling in the state of Louisiana,” said Holy Cross principal Terry McGaha.

A teacher of religion, English, German and physical education, Brother Melchior retired from coaching in 1971 but remained teaching until 1987.

Brother Melchior died in 1997 at the age of 86. He was inducted into the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame (1989), the National Wrestling Hall of Fame (2007), the Holy Cross Hall of Fame (2015) and the New Orleans High School Sports Hall of Fame. The Louisiana state wrestling championship trophies in each division bear his name.

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