These scholarships are awarded to individuals who excel in academics as well athletics, while contributing to their family and community.
This idea to create an Award and Scholarship in the name of Ilio DiPaolo was through the efforts of Bud Carpenter, Randy Ribbeck, Jim Kelly and the entire Buffalo Bills Organization. They felt that his strong belief in education, athletics and family were essential for success. Ilio also believed that as your success grew so should the support you give your community.
The first year we were fortunate to give (2) scholarships through the financial support of many friends, organizations, businesses and individuals we didn't even know. Then came "Legends", the idea of Mark Stone, to bring Pro Wrestling back to Buffalo in the name of Ilio DiPaolo raising over $350,000 for Children's Hospital, Buffalo Police Athletic League, Hunters' Hope and many other organizations.
The Scholarship Fund has also grown through the Annual Ilio DiPaolo's Memorial Celebrity Golf Classic, the Hanes Supply Sports Nite and the Celebrity Chef Dinner as well as proceeds from the sale of Ilio DiPaolo's brand products in local grocery stores.
A special recognition goes to all the people who have volunteered their time to make the "Scholarship Fund" a successful reality!
* 2019 Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Award Winners shown above with Mrs. Ethel DiPaolo (first row, 5th from left); Dennis & Michael DiPaolo; Committee Member, Dick Gallagher; Buffalo Bill, Harrison Phillips; Committee Member, Bill Stachowski; Scholarship Fund President, Bud Carpenter; and Committee Member, Bob Koshinski
Falconer High School
In honoring the memory and the high ideals of Professional Hall of Fame Wrestler, Ilio DiPaolo. We are proud to announce this award providing recognition and financial aid to this deserving college bound athlete whom has become an accomplished wrestler through dedication, skill and sportsmanship while maintaining scholastics and citizenship.
*Robert Penhollow shown here with Scholarship Fund President, Bud Carpenter; Scholarship Committee Member & Presenter, Bob Breidenstein; Dennis DiPaolo, Ilio DiPaolo and Michael DiPaolo
Iroquois High School
This award was named after legendary Martial Arts Sokie and owner of Universal Martial Arts Academy, Gary Castanza. He was revolutionary in his field, training police and security forces along with Green Berets. Gary's audiovisual tapes were just the beginning and led to training NFL Players. His world renowned Martial Arts skills and endless support of both charitable organizations and individuals showed his belief in community and family.
*Cory Day shown here with Scholarship Fund President, Bud Carpenter; Patrice Castanza, wife of Gary Castanza; Scholarship Committee Member & Presenter, Frank Nicotra
Niagara-Wheatfield High School
This award was named after Pro Wrestling Hall of Famer, Dick "The Destroyer" Beyer. Dick, who recently passed away, wrestled for and captained the Syracuse Football Team to their First Bowl appearance. Inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, his tireless and endless effort to support the community is legendary. He wrestled over 8,000 matches and his wrestling skills are unmistaken.
Pioneer High School
This award honors Bill Hein, whose love and dedication to wrestling promoted the sport on all levels nationally and in the Western New York area. It is given to a wrestler who displays that same love and commitment to the sport.
*Michael Rigerman accepting The Bill Hein Award from President, Bud Carpenter and Presenter & Scholarship Committee Member, Chris Fischetti
Tonawanda Senior High School
The Cauliflower Alley Club is an association of past, present & future champions, combatants and allied personages joining in celebration and recognition of fellowship within the Wrestling World.
*Cauliflower Alley Award winner, Zachary Braddell shown here with Kris Jones, Daughter of Dick "The Destroyer" Beyer' Presenter & Scholarship Committee Member, Ralph Pignataro and President, Bud Carpenter
It is with great pride the Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Committee adds this very special award to its five other prestigious awards.
The Knuutila Family Award is given in Honor of the compassionate heart of Linda Knuutila & her family. Linda was one of our Scholarship Committee Members, who sadly passed away in 2018. She and her family were committed whole heartedly to the sport of Wrestling and this award recognizes a student who emulates the qualities the Knuutila Family members hold true. This award is given to an individual who displays the characteristics of an "Overachiever"; they are persistent, have experienced a setback in life, yet persevered and even when they don't reach their goal, they keep trying and never gave up.
The winner of the Knuutila Family Award consistently shows the ability to place teammates and team before him or herself; is a solid team member who is always willing to help out with whatever it takes to help his team win a match or tournament. They help those around them to become better athletes and more importantly, better people. The Knuutila Family Award winner is that special athlete on your team you just can't do without.
*Knuutila Family Award Winner, Johnny Putney shown here with Scholarship President, Bud Carpenter; Granddaughter of Linda Knuutila; and Committee Members, Eric Knuutila & Kristin Clark, Daughter of Linda Knuutila