The National Wrestling Hall of Fame's Medal of Courage is "presented to a wrestler or former wrestler who has overcome what appear to be insurmountable challenges."
So is it really any wonder that wrestling coach has earned the honor?
Powell earned accolades as a young wrestler, long before winning an IHSA state wrestling title for OPRF in 1994 and later getting named as an All-American at Indiana University.
He's been at the helm of OPRF's wrestling team since the 2004-2005 season, garnering praise from students and parents alike. This year, he mentored Oak Park's Ellis Coleman during the 20-year-old's quest for gold at the London Olympics. Here's Sun-Times Media:
In nine years, [Powell's] teams have amassed a dual record of 155 wins and 39 losses. Along with coaching feeder teams to five national dual championships, he has also coached scores of national champions and place-winners. This year USA Wrestling named Mike its Cadet Development Coach of the Year.
That's a long list of achievements already, and to anyone who's wrestled at any level, you know the dedication it takes to succeed like Powell has.
But it's been the coach's bout polymyositis that's perhaps been the coach's biggest challenge. It's rare disease that's racked his immune system and wrecked his body. His struggles with the illness were outlined in a February 2012 Sports Illustrated story and later on WTTW's Chicago Tonight and WGN News.
Now, Powell gets the nod as one of the most recent inductees into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame's Illinois Chapter. The induction ceremony is set for Oct. 21 at the Hilton in Bloomington, Ill.
Here's to you, Mike. Congratulations.