Ohio State wrestling coach Russ Hellickson announces his retirement

By Leann Parker | March 21, 2006, 1:49 p.m. (ET)
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State wrestling coach Russ Hellickson announced his retirement Tuesday, effective July 31.

Hellickson began his tenure at Ohio State in the 1986-87 season. He mentored 41 All-Americans, the most of any Ohio State wrestling coach, including a record five All-America honorees in 2004. The two-time Big Ten coach of the year (1991, '02) and 2002 NWCA National Coach of the Year coached five national champions to seven championships, including two-time NCAA champions Kevin Randleman in 1992 and 1993 and Tommy Rowlands in 2002 and 2004. He posted a record of 272-170-6 at the helm of the Buckeyes.

"I'm extremely proud of the student-athletes and coaches I've worked with over the years," Hellickson said. "We have one of the hardest-working staffs in all of college wrestling. The program has not lived up to my expectations the last few years. By stepping aside at this time, it will allow my successor the opportunity to come in and return the program to national prominence. "

"We appreciate Russ' dedication and contributions to the success of the wrestling program over the years," Gene Smith, Ohio State Director of Athletics, said. "We wish him every success in his retirement."

Heather Lyke, OSU Associate Director of Athletics who oversees wrestling, will chair the search committee to replace Hellickson.

"We will put a national search committee in place as soon as possible to find the best coach," Lyke said. "We expect to have enormous interest in this position and look forward to a strong pool of quality candidates."

Ohio State assistant coaches Ken Ramsey and Mitch Clark also will remain on staff until July 31. The current Buckeye staff members will operate the 2006 summer wrestling camps.