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!
2021 Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Award Winners - first row from left to right: Aden Spina; Ciaran Edwards; Ryan Nugent; Andrew Lucinski; Michael Catanzaro; Nathan-Michael Gabler and Dylan Lyness. Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Committee Members - second row from left to right: Chuck McCollum; Ilio DiPaolo; President, Bud Carpenter; Dennis DiPaolo,; Emcee, Linda Pellegrino; Former NYS Senator, Bill Stachowski; Chris Fischetti; Kurt Beyer and Eric Knuutila.
Newfane 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.
Andrew Lucinski shown here with Dennis DiPaolo, Scholarship Committee Member, Bob Breidenstein and Scholarship Fund President, Bud Carpenter.
Lewiston-Porter 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.
Ciaran Edwards shown here with Patrice Castanza, wife of Gary Castanza (left) and Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Fund President, Bud Carpenter.
Williamsville North 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.
Newfane 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.
Ryan Nugent, the Bill Hein Award Winner for Most Dedicated Wrestler, is shown here with Scholarship Committee Member, Chris Fischetti & Dennis DiPaolo
Olean 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, Nathan-Michael Gabler shown here with Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship President, Bud Carpenter, Presenter & Scholarship Committee Member, Frank Nicotra and and Dennis DiPaolo
Starpoint High School
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, Dylan Lyness, shown here with Eric Knuutila, Scholarship Committee Member and Ally Clark, Granddaughter of Linda Knuutila
North Tonawanda High School
It is with great pride the Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Committee adds this very special award to it's six other prestigious awards. Harrison Phillips was the Third Round Draft Pick in 2018. Out of Stanford University, he was a four-time All-Academic and All-Conference, as well as a three time Team Captain. Harrison began wrestling at four years old. He was a three-time undefeated State Heavyweight Champion at Virginia Beach, Tulsa & Fargo Nationals with a record of 28-0! He also founded the Harrison Phillips' Playmakers Foundation for the disadvantaged. The Harrison Phillips award is given to someone who exemplifies these qualities in academics, commitment and community.
The inaugural Harrison Phillips Award Winner, Aden Spina, accepting his award from Scholarship Committee Member, Michael Garofalo and Harrison Phillips.