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Oklahoma State's John Smith named Big 12 Conference Wrestling Coach of the Year



DALLAS - Oklahoma State's much-decorated head wrestling coach John Smith has added another plaque for his solid collection as he has been chosen as 2000-01 Big 12 Conference Wrestling Coach in a vote by his fellow Big 12 head coaches. Smith just completed his ninth season on the Cowboys' bench and guided OSU to the Big 12 championship and a third-place finish in the 2001 NCAA Championships. During that span he is 138-20-3 in dual team matches for a winning percentage of .866. During his tenure at OSU, he has coached seven different Cowboys to 10 individual NCAA Championships. Smith also tied the legendary Edward C. Gallagher (for whom Gallagher-Iba Arena is named) for third place on OSU's all-time coaching victories' list in 2000-01 with 138. Smith is just two wins shy of second place, held by Myron Roderick, on the career wins' chart at Oklahoma State. The nine-year mentor extended the third longest winning streak in OSU history to 69 consecutive dual wins in 1999-00 before Oklahoma tied the Cowboys 16-16 on Nov. 30, 1999. It was the first time the Pokes had not won since Feb. 6, 1996. A 73-match unbeaten streak came to a halt at the hands of Minnesota 19-15 on Jan. 9, 2000. Smith was named head coach at Oklahoma State on Sept. 4, 1992, while becoming only the seventh head wrestling coach in the university's history. His coaching tenure followed a successful athletic career that included winning two Olympic gold medals, the coveted Sullivan Award and six straight World Championships. He also has been named to the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Smith also coached the 2000 U.S. Olympic Freestyle team in Sydney, Australia. Having been affiliated with the Cowboy program since 1983 as both a competitor (1983-88) and assistant coach (1989-92), Smith now implements the ideas and techniques that have brought him numerous awards over his impressive career, earning him the title "world's greatest wrestler" by one publication. Athletically, the 35-year-old Smith's credentials are outstanding. In 1991, he became the only wrestler to win the James E. Sullivan Award, honoring the nation's top amateur athlete for the previous year. He had been named a finalist for the honor on three other occasions. A native of Del City, Okla., Smith is the only American wrestler to win six world titles in a career, and six consecutive, at that. His latest World Championship came at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. The consecutive string started in 1987 with his first world title and continued at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. He added to the string with three more World Freestyle Championships in 1989, 1990 and 1991. In taking the 1990 world title, Smith was awarded the "Master of Technique" Award, which honors him as the best technical wrestler in the world. Smith also was honored as the 1988 Man of the Year by the Amateur Wrestling News and was named the 1989 Athlete of the Year by USA Wrestling in summer, 1990. Smith finished his Oklahoma State athletic career as the winningest Cowboy ever with a 154-7-2 record. He held a 90-match win streak record at OSU from the second match of his junior season through the final match of his collegiate career. It was surpassed later by his younger brother, Pat. Smith was born on Aug. 9, 1965, and married the former Toni Donaldson on Dec. 16, 1995. They have a four-year-old son, Joseph, and daughters, Isabell and Cecilia. Oklah
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