EWL honors Pitt s Stottlemyer and Gavin

By Timothy Will | March 26, 2008, 10:36 a.m. (ET)
Head Coach, National Champion honored by conference for tremendous season

PITTSBURGH-University of Pittsburgh head wrestling coach Rande Stottlemyer and 2008 National Champion Keith Gavin have been honored by the Eastern Wrestling League for a stellar 2007-08 season, it was announced today by the league office. Stottlemyer was named as the conference's Coach of the Year and Gavin its Wrestler of the Year.

Stottlemyer led the Panthers to a 13-4 dual meet record, including a 5-1 mark in conference action, and program-best finishes at the Midlands Championships and the EWL Tournament this season. At the conference championships, his squad captured four EWL crowns, the most in Pitt's rich wrestling history, and grabbed second place in the team standings, tying the school's highest finish at the tournament.

During his 29 years at the helm of Pitt Wrestling, Stottlemyer has produced two NCAA National Champions - Gavin and two-time champion Pat Santoro - 26 All-Americans, 113 national qualifiers and 29 EWL champions. In 19 of the past 25 years, he and his staff have coached at least one NCAA All-American and have seen their teams finish within the top-30 at the NCAA Championships. Pitt finished the 2008 regular season at No. 23 in the USA Today/Intermat/NWCA poll, marking the sixth time in the past 11 seasons that the Panthers have ended the year in the nation's top-25.

The honor marks Stottlemyer's third Coach of the Year accolade, as he was also bestowed the award in 1986 and 1989.

Gavin (Factoryville, Pa./Lackawanna) is the reigning NCAA Champion at 174 pounds after his 4-2 defeat of No.2 Steve Luke of Michigan this past weekend in St. Louis, Mo. The victory capped a remarkable senior season in which Gavin went a perfect 27-0, including victories at the Midlands Championships and the EWL Tournament. Over the past two seasons, he has accumulated a record of 55-4, which equates to a winning percentage of .932. Gavin finished his career as a Panther with the 8th most pins and tied for the 9th most wins in school history.

Gavin's performance in St. Louis made him the school's 16th National Champion and the first since Santoro accomplished the feat in 1988 and 1989. Gavin's unblemished record is also Pitt's first undefeated season since Santoro went 48-0 as a junior during the 1988 campaign.

Last season, Gavin went 28-4 and advanced to the finals of the NCAA Tournament where he captured second place and his first All-America honor. At the conclusion of the 2006-07 season, he was also recognized by WrestlingReport.com as their 2007 Pennsylvania Wrestler of the Year. This season, Gavin is expected to be in the running for the Hodge Award, which is given to the nation's most outstanding wrestler.