Born: February 6, 1960
Ludwig David Banach was born February 6, 1960 in Sussex. Lou and his fraternal twin, Ed, went into foster care along with the rest of their siblings after a fire destroyed their boyhood home and their mother suffered a nervous breakdown. They were ultimately adopted, along with an older brother, Steve, by the Tooley family of Monatgue, also in Sussex County. The Tooleys moved across the border to Port Jervis, NY, where the three boys became football stars and championship wrestlers. Lou was not exactly a natural. He did not make the varsity at Port Jervis High until his junior year.
The Banach brothers created their own home gym picking up old train parts and building a pulley system. Lou was transformed between his sophomore and junior years, packing on more than 25 pounds and winning the state championships. He was more of a self-made wrestler than Ed, who was tremendously quick and seemingly impervious to pain. Of course, Ed always claimed Lou was the better wrestler. Ed was nicknamed The Horse and Lou was nicknamed The Hulk.
Lou and Ed earned wrestling scholarships to the University of Iowa and were coached by the legendary Dan Gable. Lou stood 6’0 and weighed just over 200 pounds, but typically wrestled heavyweights who were much bigger. He was the NCAA champion in the Unlimited category as a sophomore in 1981 and as a senior in 1983. In 1984, Lou qualified for the Los Angeles Olympics and competed in the light heavyweight class at 220 pounds. He won the gold medal, yielding just one point during the entire competition and pinning Syrian Joseph Atiyeh in the finals in 61 seconds. Ed also won gold, wrestling at 198 pounds. The Banachs and Dave and Mark Schultz all won wrestling gold in Los Angeles, but Lou and Ed were the first twins to earn this distinction.
Lou had taken part in the ROTC program at Iowa and went on active duty after the Olympics. He helped coach the wrestling team at West Point before moving on to Penn State, where he earned an MBA. Lou went into banking and enjoyed a successful career with several midwestern institutions.
In 1994, Lou was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.