In the House #Fargo2017: Olympic champ John Smith, plus more Olympians and an army of college coaches

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | July 17, 2017, 3:56 p.m. (ET)
Two-time Olympic champion, four-time World champion and head coach of Oklahoma State John Smith was among the many wrestling heroes in Fargo today. Photo by John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com

As the week continues, more top wrestling celebrities are on hand in Fargo, N.D. at the combined USMC Junior and Cadet Nationals. TheMat.com has a growing list of these leaders who are on the floor in the FargoDome in a variety of roles. Not only are we identifying

We will start with Olympic medalists we saw for the first time today.

• 1988 and 1992 Olympic champion John Smith, who also won four World titles and strung his gold medals for six years in a row (1987-1992) was in the house. Smith is the head coach at Oklahoma State and has been coach of numerous U.S. Olympic and World Teams. He is generally regarded as America’s greatest freestyle wrestler and one of the best all-time in the world.

So far, the Olympic medalists in the house in Fargo have been Rulon Gardner, Jim Martinez, Brandon Paulson, Nate Carr and Ben Peterson

Olympians on hand in Fargo and seen for the first time today include:

• 1980 Olympian Lee Kemp, who did not get to compete in the 1980 Moscow Olympics due to the U.S. government boycott. Kemp won three World gold medals (1978, 1979, 1982) and was a three-time NCAA champion for Wisconsin and has been an Olympic Team coach.

• 2008 Olympian Mike Zadick, a 2006 World silver medalist, is here as one of the assistant coaches for Iowa State. He was a college star at Iowa.

• 2008 Olympian Doug Schwab, who was also on the World Team for the USA, is the head wrestling coach at Northern Iowa. Schwab won an NCAA title for Iowa

• 2012 Olympian Jared Frayer, a college star for Oklahoma, was on hand in his new role as an assistant coach at Virginia Tech.

So far, other Olympians here in Fargo have been Ben Askren, Rob Eiter, Jesse Thielke, Shawn Sheldon, Jake Deitchler and John Morgan.

Among the new past World Team members on the floor today who were spotted:

• World Team member Chris Bono, the head wrestling coach at South Dakota State, was at the FargoDome. Bono won an NCAA title for Iowa State before starting his college coaching career.

• Two-time Women’s World Team member Jessica Medina is here, coaching Team California in the women’s competition. Medina was a college national champion for the University of the Cumberlands.

These stars join World Team members Reece Humphrey, Tom Erikson, Nick Marable and Obe Blanc, Brent Metcalf, Tony Ramos, Angel Escobedo

College head coaches in the house, seen for the first time today by our team of people watchers, included

Sam Barber of Air Force

Troy Steiner of Fresno State

Matt Storniolo of Northwestern

Nick Mitchell of Grandview

Dana Vote of Midland

CJ Campbell of Oklahoma City

Tom Carr of Central Christian

Neil Schuck of UWW-Whitewater

So far, the head coach list has included Steve Martin of Old Dominion, Roger Reina of Penn, John Stutzman of Buffalo and Steve Marianetti of Elmhurst, Tony Ersland of Purdue, Teague Moore of American, Jeremy Spates of SIU Edwardsville, Roger Kish of North Dakota State, Mike Denney of Maryville, Mike Ritchey of Southern Oregon, Joe Galante of The College of New Jersey, Leo Kocher of the University of Chicago, Jeff Breese of Buena Vista Univ, John Oostendorp of Coe College, Tom Erikson of Lyon,

Another women’s college head coach was in the house:

Andy Cook of Grays Harbor CC

So far, the women’s college head coaches in Fargo have been Link Davis of Emmanuel College, Matt Stevens of Oklahoma City University, Ashley Sword of Life University, Donnie Stephens of the University of the Cumberlands, Lee Miracle of Campbellsville University and Sam Schmitz of McKendree University.

Men’s college assistant coaches continue to arrive on a daily basis. In addition to those we noted earlier this week, the following were in the FargoDome today

Derek St. John of Iowa State

Randy Pugh of Northern Iowa

Ryan Morningstar of Iowa

Kevin Roberts of Oregon State

Zach Esposito and Chris Perry of Oklahoma State

Israel Silva of Fresno State

Lee Pritz of Arizona State

Damion Hahn of Cornell

Sean Bormet and Josh Churella of Michigan

Joe Pollard of Rutgers

Adam Hall of NC State

Tyrell Todd of Purdue

Dave Hoffman and Nick Bruscetta of Chattanooga

Neil Erisman of North Carolina

They are added to the list of college assistants already identified to include Chris Williams of Michigan State, Mike Grey of Cornell, coaching with Team New Jersey, Drew Headlee and Jordan Leen of Pitt, Randy Hinderliter of Ottawa University, who works with both the men’s and women’s team, Alex Radsky of Washington & Lee, Jarod Garnett of North Dakota State, Jake Kettler of Minot State, Nick Marable of West Virginia, Brent Metcalf of Iowa State, Tony Ramos of North Carolina, Angel Escobedo of Indiana and Obe Blanc of NC State.

Women’s Assistant coaches have included Michaela Hutchison Schmitz of McKendree University and Julia Salata of King University.

Some of the other prominent people seen somewhere on the football field in the FargoDome were:

Ivan Ivanov, the founder of Suples products and the former head Greco-Roman coach at the U.S. Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan was on hand. Ivanov was a World Team member for Bulgaria many times before coming to the USA to coach and expand his wrestling products company

Captain Scott Steele of the U.S. Marine Corps, is part of the contingent of active duty Marines who are here as part of their title sponsorship of the event. Steele was third in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in freestyle wrestling, and was a Div. I wrestling star for the U.S. Naval Academy.

• USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender was in Fargo for the competition and to meet with wrestling leaders.

• Long-time freestyle star Ed Giese, a regular coach with Team Illinois, who coaches at the Overtime School of Wrestling has been here all week.

• 2002 NCAA champion Jared Lawrence of Minnesota is a coach with Team Minnesota and one of the nation’s top youth coaches.

Angel Cejudo, a coach with the Sunkist Kids club, was here with Team Arizona. Cejudo was a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete before his freestyle career with the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program. His younger brother is 2008 Olympic champion Henry Cejudo.

Coming to Fargo is a tradition in wrestling, not just for the thousands of great young athletes on the mats, but also for leaders, coaches, fans and more. We will keep collecting the people we see here this week.