Year Inducted: 1982
Born: March 31, 1940 Duluth, MN
The son of Hall of Fame Honored Member, George Kotlarek, Gene Kotlarek was a top young ski jumper through the 1950's and 60's with a career that took him to two Olympic Games. At the age of 17, despite having broken his collar bone the week before he won the national Class A Boys title. The following year he won the national Junior "A" title and in the run up to the Olympics in 1960 won 11 of 14 tournaments. At the same time he set 10 new hill records for distance and set a new North American distance record.
Gene Kotlarek won three national Class A titles, (1963, 1966 and 1967) After injuring his ankle in 1967 he retired from competition but served as the U.S. national ski jumping coach from 1968 to 1970 prior to starting a career in business.
In 1964 he set a new American record for distance of 454 feet at the ski flying hill at Obersdorf, Germany. That record stood for nine years.