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USA Wrestling names Ivan Ivanov to new position of General Manager, Greco-Roman Programs

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Ivan R. Ivanov of Boise, Idaho has been named to the new position of General Manager, Greco-Roman Programs by USA Wrestling, the National Governing Body for wrestling in the United States.

Ivanov was a World silver medalist as an athlete and is a highly-respected Greco-Roman coach at the Senior and age-group levels. He will be tasked to transform Greco-Roman wrestling in the United States, from the youth development pipeline through performance on the Olympic and World level.

“We’re truly excited to have Ivan Ivanov accept this new role within our Greco-Roman program. This is an extremely important hire within our organization at a pivotal time for our Greco-Roman program. We had a great deal of interest in this position and some very strong candidates to take into consideration. There is a lot of work to be done from this point forward, but we are confident that Ivan possesses not only the passion, but the vision to help lead our Greco-Roman program. It’s going to take a lot of people in a lot of different areas to help elevate our Greco-Roman program to the levels we continually want to see it succeed. Ivan is ready to hit the ground running and his leadership will help build the U.S. Greco program into a recognizable force among the current world powers,” said Cody Bickley, USA Wrestling Director of National Teams High Performance.

Ivanov will lead every aspect of the USA Wrestling Greco-Roman program. He will be given the opportunity to evaluate every facet of the U.S. Greco-Roman program. In this new role, the General Manager will create the strategic direction for the sport and will be empowered to re-imagine how USA Wrestling operates its development and high-performance efforts.

“With my club, we are doing well using a system of training which I have experience with and understand very well. I want to share my methods of training with the rest of the coaches in America. In this new position with USA Wrestling, I will be able to engage with coaches, share methods and bring valuable resources to them and their athletes. We can move ahead with Greco-Roman and start winning medals at all ages. That is my biggest motivation,” said Ivanov.

“It all starts with the coaches. As coaches, we have a lot of work to do. It is going to be hard, not easy, but I am very optimistic that if we all work together, we will make some great results for U.S. Greco-Roman. The first priority will be the elite team, the next Olympic Team, and we will know very soon who those athletes are. We need to focus our energy on that team, so we have well-prepared athletes for the Paris Olympics. We then want to go down to the Juniors, our grassroots, which is the next Olympic cycle,” he said.

Since 2010, Ivanov has been the owner and head coach for the Suples Wrestling Club in Boise, where he trains wrestlers from the age-group through the Senior level. Ivanov planned and instructed a specialized Greco-Roman technique and training curriculum at Suples WC. His training methods include online teaching platforms as well as web instruction and demonstration.

In 2004, Ivanov founded Suples, LTD, which specializes in wrestling training products and educational courses. As CEO, Ivanov is responsible for all business development and operations for the company. He was the designer and innovator for wide variety of training product lines, which are used by wrestling clubs and organizations around the world.

From 2002-2009, Ivanov served as the head Greco-Roman coach for the U.S. Olympic Education Center (USOEC), which is affiliated with Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich. This was a university-based program specializing in selected Olympic sports. Under his direction, the USOEC developed into one of the top Greco-Roman training locations in the nation. Ivanov coached numerous athletes to Senior National Teams and national titles, as well as athletes who made age-group World Teams and won national titles. Among the star athletes developed by Ivanov were two-time Olympian Spenser Mango, two-time World medalist and Olympian Justin Lester, Olympian Chas Betts, and many others.

Other coaching stints for Ivanov were with the Treehouse Athletic Club in Utah, and at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

He has coached numerous U.S. teams on international tours, including serving as assistant coach for the 2001 Junior World Team and on the coaching staff for Senior World Teams. Ivanov is a gold-certified coach within USA Wrestling’s National Coaches Education Program. In 2009, Ivanov was named USA Wrestling Greco-Roman Coach of the Year.

Ivanov emigrated to the United States from Bulgaria, where he was a world-class Greco-Roman athlete. He won a World silver medal at 62 kg in 1994, and placed fifth at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga. He was also fourth at the 1995 European Championships.

He was a student-athlete at the Sports School and Technical College in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. He was also a student-athlete for the Bulgarian World Class Army Wrestling Program, based in Sofia, where he trained and also received educational training in military technical skills. He was awarded with the Honored Master of Sport from the Bulgarian Wrestling Federation in 1996.

“I am all about building a USA Greco-Roman identity, a style that is typical for America. It is our USA cultural style. This will be very specific for our country, for what we are trying to do. We will build a complete USA team identity. We must have our own style, after evaluating our strengths and weaknesses. We need to build a style that we understand. Our athletes need to wrestle that way, with our coaches coaching that way. We need to find a way that we train while, at the same time, making it difficult for people to figure out what we are doing. We are not coming here to fight with rusty weapons, but with new weapons. This is who I am. I am very optimistic about U.S. Greco-Roman because we have a lot of resources. We need to work effectively and work together,” said Ivanov.