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TheMat.com moving to USOC website platform with new look and functionality

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Arizona State wrestling coach Lee Roy Smith announces he will leave Arizona State and move on with h



Arizona State head wrestling coach Lee Roy Smith has announced to TheMat.com that he has decided to leave Arizona State and move on with his career. Smith had coached the Sun Devils for nine years, leading the team to five Pac-10 titles, including the 2001 championship. His team placed ninth in the 2001 NCAA Championships in Iowa City, Iowa, the fifth top 10 finish during Smith's tenure. Statement by Lee Roy Smith, Arizona State wrestling head coach to TheMat.com, Wednesday, March 21, 2001 "I have decided to leave Arizona State and move on with my career. I have been working on several opportunities, both outside of wrestling and within the sport, which I will be considering at this time." "I am very proud of what we accomplished as a team during my nine-year tenure as coach at Arizona State, with 25 All-Americans, three NCAA champions and five Pac-10 championships. Academically, wrestling has improved to have the highest graduation rate among all men's sports at ASU. But what I am most proud of is the relationships I have developed with my Sun Devil family and the success our wrestlers have achieved after leaving here, both on and off the mat. I am leaving the program in good shape for the future and am confident that Arizona State will continue to support an elite wrestling program." Statement by Tom Collins, Arizona State Associate Athletic Director (for wrestling) "Lee Roy did a nice job here. He has decided to move on, and we are going to move forward with our search. Our human resources department will contact you regarding a new coach. We are focusing our efforts regarding hiring a new wrestling coach." Arizona State's 2000-2001 season highlights (from press releases by Erin Rowley, ASU Sports Information Department) All-Americans Eric Larkin, Steve Blackford and David Douglas took home medal honors for third, fifth and seventh-places, respectively, leading the Arizona State Sun Devil wrestling team to a ninth-place team finish as the 2001 NCAA Wrestling Championships came to a close the University of Iowa's Carver-Hawkeye Arena Saturday. The Sun Devils earned their first top-10 national finish since 1996, when ASU placed 10th with 45 points, and 12th top-10 NCAA finish in the last 17 years. With a total of 48 points in this year's national championships, ASU finished with its highest place and point total since 1995, a year which saw the Sun Devils place fourth in the nation with 65.5 points. Arizona State's 9th-ranked wrestling squad won its third Pacific-10 Conference title in the last five years, led by individual conference title winners junior David Douglas, sophomore Eric Larkin, senior Steve Blackford and sophomore Kellan Fluckiger at the University of Oregon's McArthur Court. The Sun Devils finished the two-day tournament in first place with 123.50 points, followed by defending champion Boise State in second with 110.50 points. Rounding out the top four teams were Oregon State in third with 109.5 points and host Oregon with 103.5 points. Not only did the Sun Devils come away with a team title and four individual titles, but eight ASU wrestlers earned qualifying berths to the NCAA Championships held March 15-17 in Iowa City, Iowa. ASU also advanced a total of five wrestlers to the championship matches in their respective weight classes, as junior Dana Holland earned runner-up honors at 149 pounds. Lee Roy Smith biography from Arizona State's web page (prior to 2000-2001 season) Having guided Arizona State wrestling to eight NCAA tournament appearances and four Pac-10 titles, Lee Roy Smith enters his ninth season as head coach hoping he has the components in place to achieve unprecedented success. Throughout his tenure, Smith has made a habit of producing wrestlers who rank among the nation's elite and last year was no different. Seven Sun Devil wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2000, including two-time All-American Steve Blackford, who tied for second on the ASU all-time single season wins list with Eddie Urbano (43), and first-time All-American Quinn Foster. Four other current squad members also appeared in last year's NCAA Championships including David Douglas, Curtis Owen, Erik Gladish and Kellan Fluckiger. Smith owns a career slate of 81-53-1 (.609). He has led the Sun Devils to four top-10 national finishes - including two top five finishes - in the last eight seasons. His highest national finish is fourth (1993 & 1995). Smith has tutored 26 All-Americans, guiding six wrestlers into the NCAA finals. He has produced two national champions (for a total of three NCAA titles) at Arizona State. In the Pac-10 Conference, Smith has directed ASU to three conference championships, including two of the last four, in his eight years as head coach. In the 1998-99 season, Smith reached his 100th-career dual milestone when the Sun Devils earned a 27-12 victory over Boise State at last year's Reno Duals. Smith has been twice named Pac-10 Coach of the Year (1993 & 1998) and was selected Co-Coach of the Year in 1997. He was named Rookie Coach of the Year by Amateur Wrestling News in 1992-93, and with the number of top-notch recruits he has signed in the past eight years, Smith has shown no signs of resting on his laurels. The future is now for ASU wrestling, and that future indicates the Sun Devils will continue to contend for national honors. Smith took the ASU post after serving as USA Wrestling's freestyle coach for the United States national team from 1989 through the 1992 Olympics. At the Barcelona games, Smith guided the USA to its best-ever Olympic wrestling performance. The U.S. squad won three gold, two silver and one bronze medal, placed all 10 weight classes in the top seven, and compiled a record number of team points. In 1997, Smith coached the USA Wrestling team at the World Championships in Siberia. In the three years prior to the Olympics, he coached six individuals to world freestyle wrestling titles and helped guide the U.S. National Team to three runner-up finishes at the World Championships. From 1987-89, Smith was a member of the Swiss Wrestling Federation national coaching staff. In that capacity, he conducted training camps for Swiss National Team members prior to international competition, helping the Swiss team to its best-ever showing at the Freestyle World Championships in Clermont-Ferrand, France, in 1987. Smith began his coaching career first as a graduate assistant coach and then as an assistant coach for his alma mater, Oklahoma State University, from 1982-87. He helped guide the Cowboys to five top-four NCAA finishes and three Big Eight Conference titles. Smith earned his degree in Liberal Arts from State University of New York at Albany after completing all coursework, except a student-teaching assignment, for his B.S. in physical education from OSU in 1982. Competitively, Smith was a two-time Oklahoma prep state champion and a two-time junior national champion. Smith also was a three-time All-American at Oklahoma State and earned four Big Eight individual titles. He won an NCAA title at 142 pounds in 1980 and helped the Cowboys to second-place finishes at the NCAAs in 1977 and 1980. Following his collegiate career, he was the National Open Freestyle champion from 1980-82 and the World silver medalist in 1983. He earned silver medals in the 1983 and 1984 World Cup, and in 1984 won the U.S. Olympic Trials, only to lose his spot on the team in a protracted court battle. He was a qualifier at the 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials as well. The second oldest of 10 children, Smith, 41, began wrestling in the fourth grade. No one knew then what a tradition of outstanding wrestling he would pioneer - a tradition that includes seven NCAA Championships and a host of international wrestling honors among himself and his three younger brothers: John, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who is currently the head coach at Oklahoma State; Pat, who became the first wrestler to win four NCAA titles; and Mark, who was a three-time All-American at OSU. In fa
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