Ohio State Wrestling Makes Coaching Changes and AdditionsCOLUMBUS, Ohio - Russ Hellickson, Ohio State's wrestling head coach, announced the addition of Jim Humphrey, a former Buckeye and Ross Thatcher to the OSU wrestling staff. Humphrey replaces four-time OSU All-American Tommy Rowlands as the volunteer assistant coach and will head the Ohio International Wrestling Club based in Columbus. Rowlands will move to Director of Program Operations and Thatcher is the Program Director for Recruiting and Conditioning.
"The changes in our staff give our team phenomenal depth," Hellickson, who is entering his 20th year at the helm of the Buckeyes, said. This expertise will impact our athletes who are a part of the Ohio State team and the local wrestling club."
Humphrey owns an extensive wrestling background that includes All-America honors and a 1972 Big Ten Individual Championship. A member of the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame, Humphrey is a five-time freestyle national champion, as well as the 1977 World Games silver medalist. Humphrey also holds an impressive head coaching resume that consists of leading the 1984 Canadian Olympic Team and the 1988 U.S. Olympic squad. In the collegiate ranks, Humphrey was the head coach at Indiana from 1984-1989. Both of Humphrey's sons, Jordin and Reece, are members of the 2005-06 Buckeye squad.
"Jim was a contemporary of mine as an athlete and a coach and has been extremely successful at all levels of competition in his career," Hellickson said. "I don't believe there is a person in the United States who could bring more wrestling knowledge and experience than Jim."
"It is an honor to come back and help Russ and his efforts to make this the finest collegiate program in the country," Humphrey said. "It always has been a goal of mine to come back and coach at Ohio State since I graduated in 1972."
While assisting the Buckeye program, Humphrey also will lead the Ohio International Wrestling Club, with Thatcher serving as Humphrey's assistant.
"I think the Ohio International Club will have a dramatic effect on our program," Humphrey said. "It will provide opportunities for our athletes to improve their wrestling skills at numerous domestic and international events. The team's ability to work out with four or five post graduate wrestlers will take them to another level."
Thatcher was a Penn State letterwinner from 1997-2000 and served as an assistant coach at PSU from 2000-2003. While with the Nittany Lions, Thatcher was named captain and garnered All-America honors. Following his time at Penn State, Thatcher wrestled for the New York Athletic Club, where he was a two-time Sunkist International Open Champion, New York Athletic International Open Champion, Dave Schultz International Open Champion and North East Regional Outstanding Wrestler and Champion. A two-time Ohio state champion and a three-time Ohio state finalist at Bishop Ready High School in Columbus, Thatcher won bronze as a member of the 2001 U.S. Pan American team and was a member of the U.S. University World squad.
"I am looking forward to working with this great staff and team," Thatcher said. "We have a great group of young student-athletes who are willing to pay the price to reach their goals. I am very fortunate to get the opportunity to learn from such a legendary coach like Russ Hellickson. I am back in the city where I grew up and closer to my family. I am finally a Buckeye and I love it."
"Ross has worked tirelessly in impacting the wrestling community at the collegiate level while at Penn State," Hellickson said. "He adds great enthusiasm and has great drive in participating in recruiting."
Rowlands, who is training as an Olympic hopeful for the 2008 games, graduated from Ohio State as the most decorated wrestler in the history of the program with four All-America accolades and two heavyweight national championships (2002 and 2004). Recently, Rowlands won gold at the World University Games, becoming the fifth U.S. wrestling gold medalist in the history of the games. Rowlands also competed in the 2004 Pan American Games, scoring a silver medal, before falling short of an Olympic bid at the U.S. team trials. In 2005, Rowlands earned a silver medal at the Yarygin Memorial tournament in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, and followed his second-place performance with a bronze medal showing at the Cerro Pelado tournament in Cuba.
"I think it is a great step in the right direction for the program," Rowlands said. "I'm excited to work with Jim and Ross and everyone a part of the 2005-06 team."
"Tommy had the most success of any OSU wrestler as a four-time All-American, two-time NCAA champion and World University Games gold medalist," Hellickson said. "We all know Tommy will run a tight ship as Director of Program Operations. The obvious goal is helping him make the 2008 team and the new staff arrangement is flexible enough to help him make that goal."
Mitch Clark and Ken Ramsey return as Buckeye assistants. Clark will enter is eighth year and Ramsey will serve his 12th.
Ohio State will kick off its 2005-06 campaign at the Michigan State Open Nov. 12-13 in East Lansing, Mich.