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Ed Gantner Collection

Identifier: UA23E

Scope and Contents

Series I: Ed Gantner Collection, 1979-1981 contains three photographs, Gantner's 1979 Fidelity Union Life Defensive Player of the Week Award, and Gantner's Inaugural Knights Football Team jacket.


  • Created: 1979-1981
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1979



The entire collection is open for research.

Copyright Statement

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical or Historical Information

Edward J. Gantner, Jr. (February 4, 1959 - December 31, 1990) was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. He attended Edgewater High School where his football career began. After graduation, Gantner earned a scholarship to play football for the University of Tennessee Volunteers, but returned to Florida after a few months. In 1979, Gantner joined the inaugural University of Central Florida Fighting Knights football team as a starter. Gantner would continue to play for the Knights until 1981. In 1982, Gantner joined the United States Football League (USFL)and in 1983 he played for the Tampa Bay Bandits as Defensive Tackle. Gantner would later play for the Jacksonville Bulls as an Offensive Lineman from 1984 to 1985. Unfortunately, USFL would cease operations in 1986 after litigations against the National Football League proved costly; however, Gantner had already switched careers to become a professional wrestler at this point.

In 1985, Gantner made his wrestling debut in Championship Wrestling from Florida billed as Ed "The Bull" Gantner, was managed by Sir Oliver Humperdink (John Jay Sutton) and formed a tag team with Kareem Muhammad (Ray Canty) known as the Shock Troops. Gantner would have the opportunity to be in the ring with legendary names in the business such as The Fabulous Ones (Stan Lane and Steve Keirn), The Road Warriors Hawk and Animal, Lex Luger, Barry Windham, Blackjack Mulligan, and the legendary "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes during his career. Gantner became the NWA Florida Heavyweight Champion on February 27, 1987 after Humperdink managed to defeat Bad News Allen (better known from his WWE tenure as "Bad News Brown") three days earlier and gave Gantner the title. Gantner would later lose the title on March 15, 1987 to Mike Rotunda (best known as "Irwin R. Schyster" aka "IRS" in the WWE). In July of 1987, Gantner's health began to decline and he was forced to retire from wrestling.

From 1987 to 1989, his health deteriorated as his kidneys began failing. This was a result of years of steroid abuse on his body since he was in high school. On November 23, 1989, he received a kidney transplant from one of his sisters, but his health did not stop declining as his mental state was also affected. Tragically, Edward J. Gantner, Jr. ended his own life on December 31, 1990 at the young age of 31. He was buried at Palm Cemetery in Winter Park, Orange County, Florida.


1 Box (0.33 Linear Feet)

Language of Materials



The collection houses items that belonged to Edward J. Gantner, Jr., a starter in the University of Central Florida Fighting Knights football team from 1979 to 1981, a professional football player in United States Football League and played for the Tampa Bay Bandits as Defensive Tackle and Jacksonville Bulls as an Offensive Lineman, and became a professional wrestler in 1985 until 1987.

Arrangement Note

This collection is arranged in one series chronologically based on known information.

Method of Acquisition

Marylou Gantner gifted  these materials to the University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collection and University Archives in 2006 (CFU2006_36).

Accruals and Additions

Collection Identifier: CFU2006_36

Related Materials

For more information on university archives, please see our website. Further information about this collection may be found in the Michael O'Shaughnessy Collection.

Processing Information

At the time of donation, acid-free paper was placed under the jacket and all items were stored in one box. When the collection was processed, the photographs were removed from their frames and were placed in sleeves before being put in a file in the collection. The acquisition method field and the subjects were updated by Kryslynn Collazo in 2018, resulting in edition 2.

Ed Gantner Collection
Steven Craig Trelstad
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the UCF University Archives Repository

Special Collections & University Archives
University of Central Florida Libraries
P.O. Box 162666
Orlando Florida 32816-2666 US
(407) 823-2576