Former NMU-OTS coach and World champion Aghasi Manukyan, 51, passed away today in Michigan

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | March 19, 2018, 5:33 p.m. (ET)
Aghasi Manukyan coaches NMU-OTS wrestler Alex Sancho at the Dave Schultz Memorial International. Photo by John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com

Aghasi Manukyan of Marquette, Mich., 51, a World champion Greco-Roman wrestler and a former assistant coach for the Greco-Roman program at the Northern Michigan University – Olympic Training Site, unexpectedly passed away today. He leaves behind a wife and three children.

“He had a big heart and cared about his athletes and his family. He was a great man and a warrior on the mat. We were very happy having him work with our athletes at Northern Michigan. I enjoyed working with him and appreciated his expertise and experience,” said National Greco-Roman Coach Matt Lindland.

“Aghasi was dedicated to the program, always putting the athletes first. He really cared about their progress in wrestling and their well being. Even after his departure from NMU, he kept in touch with many of the athletes and would have them over for meals. Our thoughts go out to his loved ones during this difficult time,” said Michael Kaurala, Operations Manager for the NMU Olympic Training Site.

Manukyan, a native of Armenia, competed in Greco-Roman for Armenia and the former Soviet Union. He was an Espoir World champion for the Soviet Union in 1987. In his first World Championships competing Armenia as an independent nation, Manukyan won a World gold medal at 57 kg. He competed in the 1996 Olympic Games representing Armenia and three World Championships. He was second in the 1995 European Championships.

After his competitive career ended, Manukyan started a coaching career in Armenia, working with Junior athletes and other top competitors.

Manukyan was a friend with U.S. Greco-Roman star Dennis Hall, a World champion and Olympic medalist, who he trained with often. When Manukyan emigrated to the United States, he worked often with Hall as a coach within Hall’s club and wrestling camp programs.

He was hired as an assistant coach for the Greco-Roman program at NMU-OTS in 2011, and worked there through 2016 along with NMU-OTS head coach Rob Hermann. Manukyan helped develop numerous champion athletes at Northern Michigan, not only within USA Wrestling’s age-group programs but also on the Senior level. Manukyan often took teams of NMU-OTS wrestlers overseas for competition and training.

He resigned from his coaching position at Northern Michigan, and worked in the construction industry in the community.

Additional information on arrangements for Manukyan and memorial plans will be posted when available.