J. Paul McNeil

About This Inductee

A District high school wrestling champion for Kingston High School, he also played football and was on the team that won the PA State Championship in 1936. Upon graduation, he attended the University of Maryland to play football and wrestle. Largely through Paul’s efforts and the aid and guidance of Dr. LeRoy Mackert, the head of the physical education department and a few others, the wrestling program gained in reputation and experience until it was finally recognized as a varsity sport. He became one of their greatest wrestlers; one of his records will never be broken and probably never tied-four years undefeated in all competition, 34 consecutive wins. Paul acted as their assistant coach, manager, team captain and star wrestler. In the Southern Conference Championship in 1941. Paul made the finals against Bob Swift of VMI, who was also undefeated that year and team captain. At the end of what was to be a classic battle, Paul was crowned the 175 pound Southern Conference Champion, Maryland’s first ever! It was be another ten years before another Maryland man would win a Southern Conference Title. The match was such a noted event that the NCAA ran a photo from the bout in their wrestling guide book the following year. Paul entered the U.S. Marine Corps in June of 1942 as a 2nd Lt. Having served in three wars, WWII, Korea and Vietnam, he received a bronze star and the Legion of Merit. While in the Marine Corps, he was runner-up in the 175 pound class in the National AAU Wrestling Tournament in New York City while representing the Baltimore, Maryland YMCA. He lost by only one point, the only sanctioned competition he ever lost. Prior to that match, he had 58 straight wins in high school, 34 at Maryland. While in the U.S. Marine Corps, he was assistant coach for Yale University’s Wrestling Team. He also attained Black Belt recognition in Judo competition. After leaving the Corps at the rank of Colonel, Paul worked with different companies in their personnel departments and eventually started his own real estate company. He is semi-retired now and lives in Clermont, Florida with his wife Virginia. They have two sons: John Paul McNeil III, and Mark S. McNeil.