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Princeton coach Michael New will resign at end of 2005-06 academic year



PRINCETON - Michael New, the veteran head coach of the Princeton wrestling program, will resign at the end of the 2005-06 academic year, it was announced Wednesday by Princeton Director of Athletics Gary Walters.

"This was a bittersweet decision for me," New said. "When I arrived on this great campus a decade ago, I had a 10-year plan in mind for rebuilding this proud program. I feel like we attained a number of those goals, including our summer camp program, our strength program and our renewed focus on improving our mat fundamentals.

"It's hard for me to leave the guys in the program right now," New continued. "I want what's best for those guys and what's best for Princeton wrestling. I also have new future goals for the next decade, including some personal wishes with my family, and I'm very excited to start moving in that direction."

New graduated from Cornell University in 1992 after a successful career in the middleweight classes. An All-Ivy selection as a senior at 167 pounds, New dropped to 158 pounds and was an Eastern finalist. After a short stint as an assistant coach at Cornell, he moved to Princeton in 1996 as an assistant coach under Eric Pearson. Prior to the 1998-99 season, he was promoted to head coach and began the daunting challenge of rebuilding the Tiger program.

His original roster of eight walk-ons has developed into a full squad of nearly 50 competitors from across the nation. A coach who demanded excellence in the classroom as well as the weight room, New's squads claimed four NWCA Academic Team Titles. His teams were the first in the league to establish a live webcast for a home match, and his parents' program helped create a foundation for numerous future opportunities for the wrestlers.

His most memorable accomplishment came in his development of Greg Parker, one of the great wrestlers in University history. Parker was a two-time EIWA champion and made a memorable run to the 2002 NCAA championship match is his home city of Albany, N.Y. Along the way, Parker defeated top-seeded Otto Olson, a Michigan senior who entered the semifinals with an undefeated record. Then a junior, Parker topped Olson 11-8 and reached the final, where he suffered an injury and fell to West Virginia's Greg Jones.

Parker came back the next season to claim his second straight EIWA championship the next year and went on to claim All-America honors in the 2003 NCAA tournament to end a brilliant career.

"Both the Princeton wrestling alumni and I thank Michael New for all of his efforts over the past decade towards our wrestling program," Walters said. "His enthusiasm and hard work helped resuscitate varsity wrestling at Princeton University."

A national search for New's successor will begin immediately.
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