Smith Named USA Wrestling Coach

John Smith

John Smith

Aug. 13, 2010

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Wrestling, the national governing body for amateur wrestling in the United States, has named John Smith of Stillwater, Okla., and Terry Brands of Iowa City, Iowa as coaches of the 2010 U.S. Freestyle World Team.

They will work with USA Wrestling National Freestyle Coach Zeke Jones of Colorado Springs, Colo., and the USA Wrestling national coaching staff to lead the team that will compete at the 2010 World Wrestling Championships in Moscow, Russia, Sept. 6-12.

Smith and Brands were selected by USA Wrestling's Freestyle Coach Selection Committee and approved by USA Wrestling's Executive Committee.

Smith serves as the head wrestling coach at Oklahoma State University, and Brands is the assistant wrestling coach at the University of Iowa. Their programs are annually among the most successful in college wrestling, with Oklahoma State and Iowa having won the most NCAA team titles of any other programs.

Both have coached past U.S. World and Olympic teams in freestyle wrestling. Smith was the coach of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team, as well as the 1998, 1999 and 2009 U.S. World Team Coach. Prior to taking the Iowa position, Brands worked as USA Wrestling's National Freestyle Resident Coach from 2005-2008, and coached with the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team and three U.S. World Teams (2005-07). Both have coached individual World and Olympic champion wrestlers for the United States.

Both are among the greatest freestyle wrestlers in history, and have been elected as Distinguished Members of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Smith won two Olympic gold medals (1988, 1992) and four World titles (1987, 1989-91), stringing his six gold medals in consecutive years. Brands was a two-time World champion (1993, 1995) and won an Olympic bronze medal in 2000.

The athletes competing on the 2010 U.S. World Team were determined at the World Team Trials held in Council Bluffs, Iowa, June 11-12.



Quotes from the coaches

John Smith, Stillwater, Okla.

"It's an honor to coach this team and it's definitely something I look at as building toward the 2012 Olympics for our freestyle team. It's a great challenge for us as a team as we continue to build toward being the best."

"The team is different this year, from a standpoint that there are some new athletes who broke through. I do believe this tells us we are building our depth back up in freestyle wrestling. The expectation for us is that we win several more medals than we did last year."

National Freestyle Coach Zeke Jones

"John Smith and Terry Brands are on the cutting edge of wrestling in the world. They've won at the highest levels of wrestling as coaches and wrestlers and there aren't two harder workers in the sport. These coaches are on a mission to help America win medals."

"With Coach Smith's superior technical ability and Terry Brands' fire and passion, we're going to be are hard to beat. My confidence grows, and I know our team's confidence grows, with them in our corner."

Terry Brands, Iowa City, Iowa

"I think we have a good group of guys who can score offensive points and do things that some other teams did not do. I am always fired up to be involved with the World Championships. It is not about me. It about them. As a staff, we will do whatever we have to do to have them as prepared as they can be."

Biographies of the coaches

John Smith, Stillwater, Okla.

Smith served as a co-head coach for the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team, which competed in Sydney, Australia. The U.S. won four individual medals, including a gold medal from Brandon Slay.

Smith served as World Team coach for the 2009 U.S. World Team, which competed in Herning, Denmark, and placed seventh in the team standings, led by individual medalists Jake Herbert and Tervel Dlagnev.

He also served as coach for the 1999 U.S. World Team, which competed in Ankara, Turkey, placing second in the team standings and winning three medals, including a gold medal by Stephen Neal. As coach of the 1998 U.S. World Team, the U.S. placed third in the team standings in Tehran, Iran with three medals, including a gold medal by Sammie Henson.

He was also the head coach of the 1998 U.S. Goodwill Games team, which captured the team title and featured three individual gold medalists. He was a co-coach of the 1997 U.S. World Cup team that won the team title and made history by winning every bout in the gold-medal match against Russia.

Smith is a coach with the Gator WC, working with top Senior freestyle wrestlers from across the nation. He was previously a coach with the Sunkist Kids.

He is currently the head coach at Oklahoma State Univ., one of the most successful Div. I wrestling programs in history. He is the winningest coach in Oklahoma State history, with a 296-44-5 career record. He has led the Cowboys to five NCAA team titles (1995, 2003-2006). He has coached 23 NCAA individual champions and five Olympians, including 2004 silver medalist Jamill Kelly. Oklahoma State has won 11 Big 12 team titles under Smith. Eight times, Smith has been Big 12 Coach of the Year.

As an athlete, Smith was considered by many the best freestyle wrestler in U.S. history. He claimed gold medals at the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games, and won four World gold medals (1987, 1989, 1990, 1991). His six straight World-level titles is unprecedented. He also won titles at the Pan American Games (twice), Goodwill Games (twice) and the World Cup.

Smith won most of the major awards in amateur athletics, including the James E. Sullivan Award, the USOC SportsMan of the Year and the World Trophy. He was FILA Wrestler of the Year in 1991, and won the 1990 FILA Master of Technique Award. He is a member of the FILA International Hall of Fame and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, along with many other major honors. In 2004, Smith was presented with the Titan Award by the U.S. Olympic Committee, and the next year, he joined his brother Pat as one of 15 wrestlers named to the NCAA's 75th Anniversary Team.

Smith was a two-time NCAA champion for Oklahoma State (1987-88) and a three-time All-American. He originally hails from Del City, Okla., where he won two state high school titles.

Terry Brands, Iowa City, Iowa

Brands serves as the assistant wrestling coach at the University of Iowa. He works with his twin brother and head coach Tom Brands to coach the powerful Hawkeye program.

During the last two seasons, Brands has helped Iowa to two NCAA and Big Ten team titles, crowning three NCAA champions, 13 all-Americans, four Big Ten champions and 14 academic all-Big Ten honorees. Iowa posted an undefeated 47-0 dual record during those two seasons, winning team titles at the Midlands and NWCA/Cliff Keen National Dual Championships.

Brands served as the USA Wrestling National Freestyle Resident Coach and Assistant National Freestyle Coach from 2005-2008.

He coached the resident freestyle athletes at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, including 2006 World Champion Bill Zadick and 2008 Olympic Champion Henry Cejudo. Brands has served on the coaching staff for the U.S. teams that competed at three World Championships (2005-07) as well as the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. The United States won eight World and Olympic medals during those years.

Brands has extensive college coaching experience. He was the head coach at the Univ. of Tennessee-Chattanooga for three years prior to joining the USA Wrestling staff. At Chattanooga, Brands led the Mocs to the 2005 Southern Conference title, while crowning three conference champions and two all-Americans.

Previously, he also served in assistant coaching posts at Montana-State Northern, the Univ. of Nebraska and the Univ. of Iowa.

Brands is a coach with the Hawkeye WC, but also coaches numerous individuals who compete for other top U.S. club programs.

As an athlete, Brands was one of the nation's greatest freestyle wrestlers, winning World gold medals in 1993 in Toronto, Canada and in 1995 in Atlanta, Ga. at 57 kg/125.5 pounds. As a member of the 1993 and 1995 U.S. World Teams, he was on the only two U.S. teams to win World Team Titles in freestyle.

In 1993, he won his World title alongside his twin brother Tom, who was the World champion at 62 kg/136.5 lbs. Alongside his brother Tom, he was named 1993 USA Wrestling Athlete of the Year, 1993 John Smith Freestyle Wrestler of the Year and 1993 Amateur Wrestling News Man of the Year. The Brands brothers became the first U.S. brothers to win a World title during the same year.

Brands qualified for the 1997 and 1999 U.S. World Teams, but did not compete due to injury. In 2000, he made a comeback and won the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Dallas, Texas at 58 kg/127.75 lbs. He earned a bronze medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

He was a two-time World Cup champion (1994, 1995) and won a gold medal at the 1995 Pan American Games. He was twice a silver medalist at the respected Yarygin Tournament in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Brands won three U.S. Nationals titles, and was runner-up three times.

Brands was a two-time NCAA Div. I champion for the Univ. of Iowa (1990, 1992) and a NCAA runner-up in 1991 competing for the legendary coach Dan Gable. He won three Big Ten titles, as well. Brands ended his career at Iowa with a 137-7 record. Brands is a graduate of the Univ. of Iowa with a degree in Human Development and Sport.

He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006. Terry and Tom, who was inducted in 2001, were the first set of twins to earn Wrestling Hall of Fame induction.

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