Surachai “Sam” Harnsongkram – Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame
Jesuit High School
A P.E./Mathematics instructor, Surachai “Coach Sam” Harnsongkram established himself as one of the most successful coaches in New Orleans history during 30 years as the wrestling coach at Jesuit High School.
A graduate of Stephen F. Austin University, Coach Sam led Jesuit to seven straight city wrestling championships, 18 state championships, including 11 in a row from 1988-98, and nine state runner-up finishes. During that time, he coached 81 individual state champions (including five All-Americans) and was named Coach of the Year 14 times by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.He was a four-time nominee for National High School Wrestling Coach of the Year.
Coach Sam was the Southern AAU/USA Wrestling chairman in 1969-70 and a USA National and FILA wrestling official.
In 1975 he was presented a Certificate of Merit and Key to the City of New Orleans as well as being named an honorary Colonel on Governor Edwin Edwards’ staff. He was inducted into the Louisiana Wrestling Hall of Fame (1990), the National Wrestling Hall of Fame (1996) and the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame (1997).
Born in Bangkok in 1939, his family sent him to Fishburne Military School in Virginia. After high school, he attended and wrestled for the Pennsylvania Military College and Ithaca College before finishing his degree at Stephen F. Austin.