USA Wrestling Mark Halvorson, Ahad...

Mark Halvorson, Ahad Javanselehi named 2014 U.S. Greco-Roman World Team Coaches

By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling | Aug. 29, 2014, 12:08 p.m. (ET)

Mark Halvorson of Brentwood, Calif. and Ahad Javansalehi of Portland, Ore. have been named as volunteer U.S. Greco-Roman World Team Coaches for the 2014 World Wrestling Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The Greco-Roman wrestling competition is September 12-14.

They will work with National Greco-Roman Coach Matt Lindland and Assistant National Greco-Roman Coach Momir Petkovic and a staff including personal coaches in the preparation of the team and the coaching of the athletes at the World Championships.

Halvorson has coached U.S. World Teams on the FILA Cadet, FILA Junior and University levels, as well as at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. He is head coach of the Community Youth Center (CYC) of Concord, Calif., and is a personal coach for 2014 U.S. World Team member Robby Smith. He is a leader within California USA Wrestling, and is also head coach for a strong program at De La Salle High School.

“I was pleasantly surprised when I was selected as one of the 2014 Senior Greco Roman World Team coaches. This is the first time I have been selected as a coach of the Senior World Team. I knew this would be a great opportunity to work with great coaches and several wrestlers that I have had the pleasure of working with when they were on developmental World Teams. I also knew that Robby Smith, one of my CYC wrestlers, would also be a strong contender to make the team, which made my selection even more special,” said Halvorson.

Halvorson is confident in the Greco-Roman’s team’s potential to improve at the World level.

“The coaching staff’s goal is to prepare the team members to get back on the medal stand this year, and finish in the top three as a team. The guys had a good camp in Colorado, and are training hard here in Kazakhstan, so we are optimistic about our chances of winning medals this year. New Head Coach Matt Lindland has done a good job putting his stamp on the team this year. All of the guys have great attitudes and it is showing during our hard training sessions here in Kazakhstan,” said Halvorson.

Javansalehi was a two-time Olympian and four-time Asian medalist competing for Iran in the early 1990s. Since emigrating to the USA, he has been active as a club and high school coach in Oregon and Utah. He was a member of the 2013 U.S. Greco-Roman World Team staff, and has helped coach U.S. Senior teams at the 2014 World Cup in Iran and the 2014 Granma Cup in Cuba.

Javansalehi believes this team can help move the U.S. Greco-Roman program forward.

“I would like to help wherever I can. I want to help USA Wrestling. One of my goals is to help them understand how to achieve great goals. We have to progress every practice. I believe that our new coaching staff can work hand-in-hand and make things successful for many years to come. Nothing feels better than helping your team compete against the world. Next year, the World Championships are in our back yard in Las Vegas. After that tournament, we can hold our heads high about our guys and our country,” said Javansalehi.


Halvorson has coached numerous major age-group Greco-Roman teams for USA Wrestling. In 2013, he was the Head Coach of the Junior Greco World Team in Bulgaria. In 2012, he coached at the Cadet World Championships in Azerbaijan, and the Junior World Championships in Thailand. Halvorson was a 2006 FILA Junior World Team coach, He was an assistant coach for the 2003 University World Team at the Olympic Hopes Tournament in Hungary. Halvorson was Team Leader for the 2001 FILA Junior World Team, and Head Coach of the 2000 FILA Cadet World Team.

He served as the U.S. coach in all three styles at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, which was the first time that the International Olympic Committee hosted this prestigious event. Halvorson also coached a 2004 FILA Junior tour team.

Halvorson has previous Senior-level coaching experience as well. He was a coach for the 2014 Pan American Championships team, and was on the staff of the 2013 U.S. Senior Greco Roman World Team in Budapest, Hungary. He is a personal coach for two-time U.S. World Team member Robby Smith, who first started wrestling for Halvorson at age 9.

He is the head wrestling coach for the Community Youth Center of Concord, Calif. (CYC). Since he took over the CYC wrestling program in 1998, CYC has produced 200 State Champions, 44 Regional Champions, 35 California Triple Crown winners, 130 USA All-Americans, 31 National Champions, 15 international tournament medalists, one Junior Pan American Champion, three Junior World Team members, one Youth Olympian, and two senior national team members. In addition, CYC has won 59 age group team state championships since he joined the organization. His CYC teams have competed in France, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Sweden, Norway, Hungary, and the Netherlands.

Halvorson served as the California Greco Roman Head Wrestling coach from 1996 to 2008, and the California Greco Roman Coach for the Junior National Duals in 2000. Team California won five unofficial national team championships while he was the head coach. Halvorson also served on the California USA Wrestling Executive Committee for two years. In 1998, he was named the Western States Developmental Coach of the Year by USA Wrestling. In 2006, he earned his National Coaches Education Program Gold Coaching level certification from USA Wrestling, the highest level of achievement in coaching.

Halvorson is tournament director for the successful Junior Greco-Roman World Duals, which has been hosted for 15 years in Concord, Calif. Over the years, teams from Germany, Estonia, Norway, Sweden, Hungary, Mexico and Honduras and others have all participated in this event.

He also works as the varsity wrestling coach at De La Salle High School. His team has won five North Coast Section (NCS) individual tournament team titles, seven NCS Dual Team titles, and in 2011 and 2012 they finished in the top four at the California state meet. He also has produced 21 CIF State medalists, 39 North Coast Section Champions, and 74 CIF State Qualifiers. Halvorson was named the Contra Costa Times Coach of the Year six times. He has also received De La Salle Coach of the Year honors in 2004 and 2009.

Halvorson graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s Degree from San Francisco State University with a Social Science emphasis, and received a California Single Subject Teaching Credential from Chapman University.


Javansalehi was a member of the 2013 U.S. Greco-Roman World Team staff. He was a coach for the 2014 Greco-Roman World Cup team which competed in Tehran, Iran, and also coached at the 2014 Granma Cup in Cuba. He also has been among the staff coaches at the U.S. Greco-Roman World Team Training Camps for the last three years.

He has been an active coach on the local levels in both Salt Lake City, Utah and in Portland, Ore. During his years in Oregon, he has been an assistant coach at Douglas High School, Forest Grove High School, Hillsboro High School and Liberty High School, as well as at Pacific University. Javansalehi also helped coach with the Cobra USA club in the late 1990s.

He was a successful international Greco-Roman wrestler in Iran before moving to the United States. He competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games, and won four Asian Championships or Asian Games medals, including a gold medal at the 1992 Asian Championships. He also was a four-time college national Greco-Roman champion for Tabriz University in Iran, where he started the program and was an athlete and coach.

Ahad started wrestling Greco-Roman as a teenager, the first Greco-Roman wrestler in the city of Ardebil, where he trained under his brother Yasoub, Iran’s 1992 and 1996 Olympic Greco-Roman coach. At the age of 17, Javansalehi was both the Iranian Junior and Senior champion in his weight class. Under his brother’s coaching skill, the city of Ardebil quickly became the top Greco-Roman city in Iran, dominating the national championships for over a decade.