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wreferee

ASU qualifies only...?

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I completely agree. I moved to AZ in 1978 and got actively involved with the program. Saw it rise to a perennial power. Bobby Douglas left for Iowa State. Lee Roy Smith dif a decent job. I tried without success to keep Thom Ortiz from being hired, my concerns were proven. As bad as Thom was Shawn Charles is worse. There are some good kids coming out of Arizona and they are leaving the state. Grand Canyon is arguably the better program in the valley now.

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On the plus side for Stauffer, one hopes, is the presence (since last summer, however...) of Tyrel Todd, but how long, one might also wonder, will (just) "ok" cut it for the SunDevil faithfuls?

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I felt like Coltin Fought (NC State transfer), James Brundage (Rider transfer), Kevin Radford, and Kyle Colling (Oklahoma transfer), at least, would have had a very good shot at qualifying had they not disappeared down some unknown black hole. Three of those are former national qualifiers, and Colling just missed last year. None of them participated at Pac-12's, and certainly Arizona State would have been a better team if those wrestlers had participated.

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Fought isn't on the roster anymore, no idea where he went. Colling is supposedly injured. No idea on the other two though.

 

It is a sad state of affairs what ASU wrestling is. I'll probably catch some heat for it, but due to the fact ASU is a public university and everything is public record, and this is also an opinion shared by several others, but one of the main reasons Charles hasn't been fired is because he's one of the few or possibly the only minority head coach in the entire athletic department. I get the feeling that unless he's caught with a live woman or a dead boy that he isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Which is sad, he's had his chances and he's somehow managed to make the program worse than it was under Ortiz. As bad as Ortiz was, he could still occasionally recruit talent that would produce results. Charles had a great first year because he benefited from a veteran roster and a timely transfer with Bubba Jenkins. After that things went to hell pretty fast. Levi Cooper who was an AA his first year didn't AA again. The "top guys" he recruited never panned out or left the team.

 

The other reason I don't think ASU will fire him is because it will cause problems internally. Despite his craptastic record, save that first year he was the head coach, he still has his supporters. If they fired him tomorrow he'd have plenty of people angry about it and they would complain. ASU doesn't need any bad press over a non revenue sport. The athletic department knows what a headache they caused when they dropped it for about a week a few years ago. They don't want to go through it again over something that's well within their control. Plus he's an alumni too. To some ASU people that's a big thing.

 

They really need to fire him and get a quality assistant from the Big 10.

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Fought isn't on the roster anymore, no idea where he went. Colling is supposedly injured. No idea on the other two though.

 

It is a sad state of affairs what ASU wrestling is. I'll probably catch some heat for it, but due to the fact ASU is a public university and everything is public record, and this is also an opinion shared by several others, but one of the main reasons Charles hasn't been fired is because he's one of the few or possibly the only minority head coach in the entire athletic department. I get the feeling that unless he's caught with a live woman or a dead boy that he isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Which is sad, he's had his chances and he's somehow managed to make the program worse than it was under Ortiz. As bad as Ortiz was, he could still occasionally recruit talent that would produce results. Charles had a great first year because he benefited from a veteran roster and a timely transfer with Bubba Jenkins. After that things went to hell pretty fast. Levi Cooper who was an AA his first year didn't AA again. The "top guys" he recruited never panned out or left the team.

 

The other reason I don't think ASU will fire him is because it will cause problems internally. Despite his craptastic record, save that first year he was the head coach, he still has his supporters. If they fired him tomorrow he'd have plenty of people angry about it and they would complain. ASU doesn't need any bad press over a non revenue sport. The athletic department knows what a headache they caused when they dropped it for about a week a few years ago. They don't want to go through it again over something that's well within their control. Plus he's an alumni too. To some ASU people that's a big thing.

 

They really need to fire him and get a quality assistant from the Big 10.

The brand-new (like, as of two months ago) Athletic Director is African-American.

 

I suspect the problem there is fairly similar to what the problem often is at a lot of programs...too many recruiters, not enough coaches, on staff. I always use the phrase "recruit, retain, develop", with respect to how to be successful as a coach in this sport, and too many coaches forget the second 65% of the characters from that phrase.

 

BTW, minor issue with what you've said...they finished sixth in Shawn Charles' second year, not his first.

 

I like Shawn Charles as a person, but I thought they would turn the corner this year (they had all underclassmen last year aside from Meredith and Cooper), and unfortunately, the corner they turned appears to be a different one than I thought they would. I'd be surprised if anybody was happy with their performance on Sunday, including Shawn himself.

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Athletic director = not a coach.

 

I believe that Shawn is the only minority head coach in the entire department. The question really becomes who would replace him? I remember when Gable was supposedly considering the job after Bobby Douglas left. That couldn't have been further from the truth. They need to quit hiring guys who are career assistant coaches like Ortiz and Charles. Find someone who's done something at the lower level, either D-I or maybe a D-II guy. Bobby Douglas came over from UC-Santa Barbara (when they had a program), a guy like Troy Letters would be a good fit. But I think they're out of the running for a big name head coach, ASU isn't the program it was 5 years ago and definitely not the one it was when Lee Roy Smith was still the coach. The last 2 coaches have let so much talent leave this state, and we aren't even a top state for wrestling. We needed to keep that here. We let #1 recruit at his weight Ryak Finch leave. Both Nate and Nick Gallick. Justin Gaethje who was an AA for Northern Colorado. Garrett Ryan who's at the OTC right now. Angel Cejudo (who didn't have it together academically and this was a surprise somehow), and we barely managed to hang onto a walk on by the name of Anthony Robles. Diego Bencomo was a R12 guy for Duke and we let him walk away. Ryan Becerra was a D2 AA for Grand Canyon but he started off at Cal State Bakersfield without even a sniff from ASU. Mike Hamel was at Wyoming then a D2 AA at Grand Canyon. The in state guys ASU has managed to keep have underachieved or are no longer wrestling. Luke Macchiaroli was a Penn State guy but transferred to ASU then quit. Shane McGough was a Fargo AA who wrestled 2 years then quit. GCU picked up tons of guys who ASU never even called or tried to recruit. I think they should have stayed D2 though because they would clean up on guys ASU didn't even try to get and they would be in contention to win nationals every year.

 

The guys I think should be in line (no particular order) to replace Charles should they fire him, hopefully soon.

 

RC LaHaye

 

Mark Perry

 

Terry Brands

 

Troy Letters

 

Jason Loukides

 

Roger Kish

 

Zeke Jones (real longshot)

 

Steve Martin (another longshot)

 

Matt Dernlan

 

Joe Heskett

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Drinking was a problem. A friend of mine was coaching a high school team at The Flowing Wells Tournament. Ortiz walked onto the mat and said I'm going to kill you. He was lead out of the gym. My friend who is an ASU grad wrote the associate AD at AsU about the incident, nothing was ever done about it. That wasn't the only incident i'd seen like that. It was specifically why in writing and in person I told Gene Smith the AD and Art Martori not to hire him. He was hired and it ended my active involvement with ASU wrestling, i still attended matches, but that was all.

 

ASU needs someone who can recruit from CA and the surrounding states. My choices would be

 

Cody Sanderson

Chris Pendleton

Eric Guerrerro

Brian Snyder (PA guy, but was an assistant at ASU)

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What made Thom Ortiz such a bad coach? He was a little before my time, and anything I ever read about him is negative.

 

He had a big ego and was a little bit insecure. He didn't allow alumni to come into the room anymore. He got rid of Aaron Simpson who'd been there for more than 5 years as a coach in some capacity. He was part of the reason Eric Larkin eventually left. Some of the guys he recruited were just nightmares. There was an incident that involved a few wrestlers who got into a fight with some drunk frat guys at a football game, I don't know the entire story, but apparently Ortiz just threw them under the bus, since I think they had threatened to fire him. Matt Lopez and Randel Aleman were among them, and I think neither ever set foot on the mat for ASU. He did occasionally hit big on recruiting with Bader and CB Dollaway, but he would also recruit talented guys and then not coach them. One wrestler told me that Ortiz asked him why he was able to place at university nationals but was just an above average starter for ASU. He said it was because he trained at the OTC prior to that and was actually coached up to wrestle, not just left to do his own thing. What really finally did it was when he hired a guy named Al Fuentes as an assistant coach. Fuentes had been an AA for some NAIA school but wasn't a very good coach at all. Walk on true freshmen were easily handling him in the room. I know that sometimes you don't need to be a good wrestler to coach, but at the D1 level? Come on. Fuentes also has a few degrees in some weird space age mental coaching thing that always seemed pretty hokey. I heard that the guys in the starting lineup were guys who'd paid Fuentes to be their mental coach or whatever, and the guys who weren't paying him weren't starters. I think that was the beginning of the end, Ortiz once he hired Fuentes lasted I think only one or two years with that going on.

 

As far as what Apple alluded to, I think that was a pretty open secret. Though it wasn't just alcohol causing a problem.

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Any way they might be able to coax Aaron Simpson back into the ASU fold?

 

At 39 years old and only one fight (lost) in the last year, his MMA career is in its twilight. His known effectiveness as a wrestling coach, plus his MMA background would be appealing both to guys who are looking for a solid Div. I experience and to guys looking to make it as a fighter after college. Just a thought.

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They can solve many problems by hiring Joe Heskett from the Army job. He is a good choice for them. Would do a good job in Arizona and recruiting with him would pick up quickly.

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They can solve many problems by hiring Joe Heskett from the Army job. He is a good choice for them. Would do a good job in Arizona and recruiting with him would pick up quickly.

Recruiting hasn't been the problem in Tempe, retention and development has.

 

Actually it has. We don't have recruits from wrestling hotbeds much. The guys we recruit are from places like Georgia, North Carolina, Alaska, Tennessee. Under Bobby Douglas and Lee Roy Smith we actively recruited in Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan. We would occasionally get top guys but mostly we'd get 2nd tier guys who were overlooked for being from a smaller school. You have to recruit where the talent is, then pick off one or two guys from those other places. A guy I bet Douglas would have landed is Gregor Gillespie. He was able to find guys like that who were overlooked because of Schlatter and Metcalf and turn them into very good college wrestlers. That's what ASU really needs is to be able to bring in those 2nd level type guys who have something to prove and a chip on their shoulder.

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