Rest in Peace Carlton Haselrig

Carlton Haselrig died of natural causes Wednesday morning at the age of 54. He was the only six-time wrestling champion in NCAA history, a Pro Bowl guard with the Steelers, and an MMA fighter.

Prior to 1990, Div II and Div III champions earned a spot in the Div I wrestling championships. Haselrig won both Div II and Div I titles at heavyweight in his Sophmore, Junior, and Senior years. Due to the “Haselrig Rule," Haselrig's six-title record is likely to remain for all time. His 143-2-1 collegiate record includes a win over future Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle, who mourned his passing.

Haselrig won states in High School, in the mighty wrestling state of Pennsylvania, despite his school not having a wrestling team. He was drafted into the NFL in 1989 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, despite not having played football in college. Haselrig played five seasons in the NFL, becoming a Pro Bowl and All-Pro offensive guard in 1992.

He battled drug and alcohol addiction throughout his life, and left the NFL when he signed with the New York Jets before the 1995 season, but no-showed, and received a second suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Although he didn't play in the NFL again, in 2001 he began coaching for the AFL's Pittsburgh Colts. And then he determined to make it into the UFC.

He started a professional MMA career at the age of 42, winning two regional belts in his first fight, and eventually earning a 3-2 record from 2008-2009. Haselrig got a win in Elite XC, before losing a final fight to future longtime UFC heavyweight Shawn Jordan.

Haselrig wrestled for Pat Pecora, the NCAA’s all-time wins leader, who spoke with Steve Rotstein for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pecora said that a liver condition over the past few years reduced Haselrig to “skin and bones," but he still shook his hand with a vice grip and could have broken it if he wanted to.

"I was blessed to have him in my life,” said Pecora. “He was family to me and my family. He babysat my first daughter, my oldest child. He came to our family reunions. My mom and dad loved him. My brothers and sisters did, too. We just had a special relationship, and it grew.”

“He had no concept of someone being able to be better than him at something. I remember the first time we went to the Division I tournament, newspapers were asking him, ‘What do you feel like when you have to wrestle somebody from Iowa or Oklahoma?’ He looked at them like their head was on fire.”

“I’ve got some great memories with Carlton. Fantastic. We conquered the world that was in front of us, together.

“He’s had his demons, and that’s the kind of life Carlton had. From the top of the mountain, to the valley. He lived a life full. But I feel good in the long scheme of things … I think he made peace with himself and was in a good spot and a good place in his life.”

RIP to the legend.

RIP. 
 

Love the quote “he had no concept of someone being able to be better than him at something.”

 

seems like an almost delusional belief in self is what separates the absolute elite athletes from the rest of the pack. 

RIP,that sucks

RIP

He was a scary dude. 

StutheJu -

RIP. 
 


Love the quote “he had no concept of someone being able to be better than him at something.”


 


seems like an almost delusional belief in self is what separates the absolute elite athletes from the rest of the pack. 

No it’s usually being an elite athlete that does it, the delusional sense of self is often developed from just being better than everybody at the sport you do.

1 Like

shaqitup - 
StutheJu -

RIP. 
 


Love the quote “he had no concept of someone being able to be better than him at something.”


 


seems like an almost delusional belief in self is what separates the absolute elite athletes from the rest of the pack. 

No it’s usually being an elite athlete that does it, the delusional sense of self is often developed from just being better than everybody at the sport you do.


It's both.

Anyone who has been at a high level knows of those guys who were monsters in the practice room (elite athlete), but lacked the incredible confidence needed to live up to their potential.

Met he and Terry Long when I lived in Pittsburgh.  Both were incredibly nice dudes and just wiiiiiiiiide as hell.  RIP to both dudes. 

 

 

shaqitup -
StutheJu -

RIP. 
 


Love the quote “he had no concept of someone being able to be better than him at something.”


 


seems like an almost delusional belief in self is what separates the absolute elite athletes from the rest of the pack. 

No it’s usually being an elite athlete that does it, the delusional sense of self is often developed from just being better than everybody at the sport you do.

Disagree. There are lots of elite athletes that never make it to the top. This can chalked up to lots of reasons but one of those is lack of self-belief. Also being overly self-aware can limit peak performance. Those with delusional self confidence don’t suffer from either of those. 

1 Like

RIP

StutheJu -
shaqitup -
StutheJu -

RIP. 
 


Love the quote “he had no concept of someone being able to be better than him at something.”


 


seems like an almost delusional belief in self is what separates the absolute elite athletes from the rest of the pack. 

No it’s usually being an elite athlete that does it, the delusional sense of self is often developed from just being better than everybody at the sport you do.

Disagree. There are lots of elite athletes that never make it to the top. This can chalked up to lots of reasons but one of those is lack of self-belief. Also being overly self-aware can limit peak performance. Those with delusional self confidence don’t suffer from either of those. 

Agree ^

Looks like he went to a d-2 school because d-1 coaches wouldn’t have put up with his shenanigans.  Can you imagine being that much of a badass athlete you don’t even need an elite wrestling room to prepare you to win a d-1 t itle?

RIP champ

I’m not a doctor but I have never heard of a 54 yr old man dying of “natural causes”.

Jed - I’m not a doctor but I have never heard of a 54 yr old man dying of “natural causes”.

Wasn't homicide, suicide, disease, or accident. Was apparently due to very many years of chronic alcohol and drug abuse, which is, to me, a disease. But I guess medical examiners don't make that consideration.

Jed - I’m not a doctor but I have never heard of a 54 yr old man dying of “natural causes”.

Dying of cirrhosis while in the hospital is natural causes while dying of alcohol poisoning wouldn’t be. A smoker who dies of lung cancer didn’t “od” on cigarettes over a 40 year period. 

RIP

RIP.

RIP

Kirik - 

Carlton Haselrig died of natural causes Wednesday morning at the age of 54. He was the only six-time wrestling champion in NCAA history, a Pro Bowl guard with the Steelers, and an MMA fighter.

Prior to 1990, Div II and Div III champions earned a spot in the Div I wrestling championships. Haselrig won both Div II and Div I titles at heavyweight in his Sophmore, Junior, and Senior years. Due to the “Haselrig Rule," Haselrig's six-title record is likely to remain for all time. His 143-2-1 collegiate record includes a win over future Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle, who mourned his passing.


Haselrig won states in High School, in the mighty wrestling state of Pennsylvania, despite his school not having a wrestling team. He was drafted into the NFL in 1989 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, despite not having played football in college. Haselrig played five seasons in the NFL, becoming a Pro Bowl and All-Pro offensive guard in 1992.


He battled drug and alcohol addiction throughout his life, and left the NFL when he signed with the New York Jets before the 1995 season, but no-showed, and received a second suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Although he didn't play in the NFL again, in 2001 he began coaching for the AFL's Pittsburgh Colts. And then he determined to make it into the UFC.


He started a professional MMA career at the age of 42, winning two regional belts in his first fight, and eventually earning a 3-2 record from 2008-2009. Haselrig got a win in Elite XC, before losing a final fight to future longtime UFC heavyweight Shawn Jordan.


Haselrig wrestled for Pat Pecora, the NCAA’s all-time wins leader, who spoke with Steve Rotstein for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pecora said that a liver condition over the past few years reduced Haselrig to “skin and bones," but he still shook his hand with a vice grip and could have broken it if he wanted to.


"I was blessed to have him in my life,” said Pecora. “He was family to me and my family. He babysat my first daughter, my oldest child. He came to our family reunions. My mom and dad loved him. My brothers and sisters did, too. We just had a special relationship, and it grew.”


“He had no concept of someone being able to be better than him at something. I remember the first time we went to the Division I tournament, newspapers were asking him, ‘What do you feel like when you have to wrestle somebody from Iowa or Oklahoma?’ He looked at them like their head was on fire.”


“I’ve got some great memories with Carlton. Fantastic. We conquered the world that was in front of us, together.


“He’s had his demons, and that’s the kind of life Carlton had. From the top of the mountain, to the valley. He lived a life full. But I feel good in the long scheme of things … I think he made peace with himself and was in a good spot and a good place in his life.”


I followed him closely, I think they changed the rule allowing D2 and D3 guys from qualifying for D1 because of him. I thought it was so cool when he made it to NFL after never playing college football. I didn't find out till years later his HS didnt have a wrestling team yet he won state championships, in Pennsylvania no less.

Guy was a true beast, RIP. Stay of drugs people, if a guy a strong as him can't control it, chances are you can't either.