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|Jason Loukides named head coach at UNC Greensboro|
By UNC Greensboro
GREENSBORO, N.C. - UNC Greensboro Director of Athletics Nelson E. Bobb announced Wednesday the promotion of Jason Loukides to head coach of the University's wrestling program.
Loukides (pronounced Lou-KEY-dehs) has served as the program's assistant coach for the last two seasons. After the completion of a national search for the program's new head coach, Loukides replaces Tom Shifflet, who resigned back on May 17 to become the head coach at Hofstra University.
Loukides is the program's third head coach in its 13 year-history. He will officially assume his duties July 1.
"This is an outstanding hire for us because Jason provides continuity to our developing program," said Bobb. "He has a great deal; of experience on a national and international scale. Jason understands our Spartan program and has been instrumental in the development of our current wrestlers. His commitment to excellence on and off the wrestling mat was a major factor in our hiring thoughts."
Loukides takes the reigns of a program on the rise. Last season, UNCG had an 11-6 overall mark, including 4-1 in SoCon dual match action. The Spartans finished second at the Southern Conference Championships, also known as SoCon/ACC MatJam, with three individual champions. Four Spartans qualified for the NCAA Championships, equaling a school record and giving the program nine qualifiers in the last four seasons.
In his two seasons as an assistant at UNCG, Loukides has helped the Spartans to a 23-11 mark in dual matches, the best two-year mark in the program's history. UNCG won a school record 12 matches in 2004-05 and fell just shy of that mark last year at 11-6.
"I am excited about the opportunity to continue building upon what we have established," said Loukides. "The support of Nelson Bobb and our administration here at UNCG makes everything possible and is greatly appreciated. I couldn't be happier than coaching and living in Greensboro."
Loukides will also have the task of continuing the Southern Scuffle wrestling tournament that was born under Shifflet. Over the tournament's brief three-year history, it has become a showcase of the best collegiate wrestlers in the country. Last December, 31 teams competed in the Southern Scuffle with the tournament moving to the Greensboro Coliseum Complex. The Coliseum will be the site of the Southern Scuffle in December 2006, as well.
Before coming to Greensboro, Loukides spent six years in the world class training program with the U.S. Army in Colorado Springs, CO. Prior to that, he served as a coach for Edinboro's club program for one season and spent two years as a graduate assistant coach at Slippery Rock University. He also assisted with the 2005 Women's World Championship squad and served as head coach for the 2005 North Carolina Junior Nationals teams.
"This is great news for UNCG Wrestling because Jason is the right person for that position," said Shifflet of his successor. "He is very passionate about wrestling and goes above and beyond the call for those student-athletes. He has great ties within the wrestling community on both the local and national levels, which will help propel the program to the next level. I know both the returning and incoming wrestlers are very happy about this decision."
As a wrestler, Loukides finished fifth at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman trials. He was the champion at 198 pounds at the 1992 USA University Freestyle Championships. In 2001 at the FILA World Championships, he finished first at 214 pounds in Greco-Roman. In addition, he also earned a silver medal in 2003 in Greco International at the Pan American Games and a bronze medal in the freestyle division of the World Military Championships that same year. Also included on his international resume are appearances at three U.S. World Team Trials, all placing fifth or better, and competitions in Russia, Venezuela and other foreign countries.
At national powerhouse Edinboro, where he was a college teammate of Shifflet's and competed under wrestling legend Bruce Baumgartner, Loukides finished third in the 1994 EWL Championships at 190 lbs. He advanced to the NCAA Championships held in Chapel Hill, NC, where he was seeded 12th and won his first round match and advanced to the third round of wrestlebacks.
Loukides still ranks 23rd all-time at Edinboro on the school's all-time win list, graduating with a career mark of 82-38-2. He was a part of Edinboro's 1994 EWL Regular Season Championship squad.
"Jason has a great understanding of the sport and a real love for it," said Baumgartner, a former Olympic Gold Medalist and currently the Director of Athletics at Edinboro. "He helped me out when I was training for some the world championships that I competed in. He has a great work ethic. Jason has always had the ability to analyze the technique of the sport, being able to break things down, and also has a real understanding for the conditioning involved. I think he should do a very good job."
Loukides graduated from Edinboro in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in specialized studies and also attained a second bachelor's degree from Colorado Christian University in computer systems in 2001. He also holds a master's degree in envoirnmental education from Slippery Rock (2000) and is close to completing work on a second master's degree in kinesiology.