Brandon High School’s Russ Cozart Nominated to the National High School Hall of Fame

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) inducts 13 individuals annually to the National High School Hall of Fame. This hall of fame was established to recognize, preserve and promote the heritage of interscholastic activities and to recognize the individuals that propel them forward.

Current Brandon High School wrestling coach, Russ Cozart, will be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame as a part of the 35th induction ceremony in its history for his many athletic and coaching accomplishments in the state of Florida and beyond. Previously the NFHS National Wrestling Coach of the Year (2014) and the USA Wrestling National Development Coach of the Year (2006), Cozart is adding to his many accolades with this honor.

Cozart will be installed into the National Federation of State High School Associations’ National High School Hall of Fame on Sunday, July 2. The ceremony will happen during the 98th annual NFHS Summer Meeting which is held at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, R.I.

Russ Cozart’s coaching career is extremely decorated. With a 647-6 All-Time record at Brandon High School and a national record of 459 consecutive dual meets ever won (1974-2008), Cozart coached the longest winning-steak in high school sports history.

“Coach Cozart has been a vital part of the growth of [wrestling] at both the local and state levels. Brandon is the gold standard of wrestling in Hillsborough County and the state of Florida,” said Superintendent of the Raymond O. Shelton School, Jeff Eakins.

From an Olympian to several National Champions, the success of the wrestling program at Brandon High School is due in large part to Cozart’s extreme dedication to the coaching profession. He has coached 115 Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Individual State Champions and 141 FHSAA Individual State Placers.

 “He knows how to teach us the best because, he gets out on the mat and can go thru the moves with us,” said former three-time state champion at Brandon, Cesar Grajales.

A Health and P.E. Coach at Brandon High School, Cozart has kept in shape by training year-round. His career is far from over. Cozart, at 50-years-old, was among the first to become a “Triple Crown” winner in Veterans wrestling. This title belongs to athletes who win the USA Wrestling national titles in folkstyle, freestyle and Greco-Roman in their age level during the same year.

Cozart becomes the 14th inductee from Florida in the NFHS National High School Hall of Fame joining  Floyd Lay 1983, Pat Summerall 1987, Chandra Cheeseborough 1987, Don Sutton 1989, Vincent Schaefer 1990, Richard Pace 1991, Chris Evert 1992, Cris Collinsworth 1996, Jim Thompson 1996, Wayne Taylor 2006, Louise Crocco 2008, Rick Tucci 2011, and Charles "Corky" Rogers 2015. 

About the FHSAA
The Florida High School Athletic Association supervises and regulates interscholastic athletic programs for high school students at member public, private and charter schools. The organization also recognizes and honors academic achievement among student-athletes at almost 800 middle, junior and senior high schools statewide. Headquartered in Gainesville, it is the official governing body for interscholastic athletics in Florida.