Aug. 26, 2012
TEMPE - The Arizona State University wrestling team is sad to announce the death of historic wrestler Eddie Urbano, who passed away this weekend in Tucson, Ariz.
Urbano was a two-time All-American at Arizona State at 150 pounds and in 1984 (3rd) and 1985, when he became just ASU's second NCAA Champion in school history and the first since Curley Culp in 1967.
Urbano was the first NCAA Champion for legendary ASU coach Bobby Douglas, and set the groundwork for the team's first and only NCAA Championship in 1988. Urbano was a two-time Pac-12 Champion at 150 pounds as well.
"The Sun Devil Nation and wrestling community at large is greatly saddened by the sudden death of Eddie Urbano," ASU head coach Shawn Charles said. "Eddie was an outstanding wrestler, a great coach and an awesome friend. He will be greatly missed."
Urbano started a stream of talented wrestlers making their way to ASU from Tucson as he posted a career record of 105-17-1 with the Sun Devils. Those 105 victories rank Urbano 17th on ASU's all-time wins list despite only competing for three years as a Sun Devil. He finished his career with 52 dual victories, good for 11th in ASU's all-time record books.
As a senior, he helped ASU win the Pac-10 team title and was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament. Urbano was inducted into the Arizona State Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. Urbano also earned a junior college national title during his time competing at Pima Community College in Tucson.
Urbano will be remembered for his passion and commitment to Arizona State wrestling, and as former collegiate and roommate Mike Davies points out, an award-winning smile.
"The first thing you would notice about him was that, it was ear to ear...a genuinely happy smile," Davies remembers. "He was so full of life and fun to be around. This is a really sad day for ASU Wrestling."
Davies recalls Urbano as a guy that went out of his way to help others out and to be a mentor. Davies credits Urbano for pushing him and making him a better wrestler in their year they spent rooming together and also credits him for introducing him to real Mexican food.
"I was from Cleveland, so my idea of Mexican food was Taco Bell," Davies said. "The first week we lived together, Eddie had his grandmother (a Mexican native) bring up some homemade food and I have been hooked ever since."
Fellow teammate and eventual Olympian Gary Bohay was another who remembers Urbano by his iconic smile and uplifting personality and passion to the sport.
"Wrestling was his life and he just worked so hard to be successful," Bohay said. "He was a huge competitor and a wrestling junkie. His NCAA championship really catapaulted ASU to national prominence."
RIP Eddie Urbano 🙏 You will definitely be missed and remembered asfunny, intelligent and kind; but most im instagr.am/p/Ox5C-arxVm/-- WildFlower (@_JayMoreno) August 26, 2012
A Tucson native, Urbano became one of the first native Arizonans to win an NCAA Championship (Culp came out of Yuma, Ariz.). Urbano was a state champion in high school at perennial powerhouse Sunnyside High School and is part of an elite history at that program that has served as a pipeline for numerous Sun Devil talents through the years.
RIP Eddie Urbano.-- Danny Felix (@Toxicpaint9) August 26, 2012
@asuwrestling As a kid Id follow him everywhere Did not want to be like Mike, wanted 2 be Eddie!
"When you talk about ASU wrestling and wrestling in Arizona, you have to mention Eddie Urbano," Davies said. "We lost one of our greats and one of our leaders."
After his time at Arizona State, he became the 1988 Olympic Trials runner-up at 68 kg. Following that, he went on to couch across the state and the city of Tucson, helping numerous individuals go on to achieve their collegiate wrestling dreams.
"Eddie was special type of guy. He was a great athlete and a real kind-hearted individual. I have nothing but a tremendous amount of grief for what's happened." said Douglas in a phone interview. "It's hard for me to verbalize about Eddie. He will be missed more now than what people could imagine. He did a lot of good and he's a great example to a lot of minority and poor kids and kids that came from tough backgrounds."
Arizona State will provide details for memorial services as soon as they are available.
Arizona has lost another tremendous athlete prayers and condolences go out to the family of Coach Eddie Urbano. Sad day for wrestling.-- Anthony Birchak (@abirchakMMA) August 25, 2012
Aaron Simpson (@aaronsimpson) August 26, 2012