Former ASU wrestler and USA Wrestling National Freestyle coach Zeke Jones has been named ASU wrestling’s new head coach, the University announced Wednesday.
The hiring comes one week after former coach Shawn Charles’ resignation was announced.
Jones has an established record of wrestling coaching experience. In addition to heading USA Wrestling National Freestyle team, Jones amassed a 33-17-1 record during three seasons at the University of Pennsylvania and won USA Wrestling Freestyle Coach of the Year in 2001.
After Charles resigned, athletic director Ray Anderson said there was a mutual decision between the athletic department and Charles that the program needed a fresh face.
“There was a realization that the wrestling program needed to take a fresh direction,” Anderson said. “We’re going to go in a direction that will lead us toward recapturing the prominence the wrestling program here at Arizona State once had.”
Jones was a part of the program during its heyday. He was part of ASU’s 1988 national championship team and was named an All-American three times in his four years at ASU.
This is Anderson’s first coaching change since taking over as athletic director in February.
“I came in with no preconceived notions about any program, but once I got here, I took a very close look at all the programs,” Anderson said. “There was no secret in anyone’s mind that the wrestling program had been struggling in the last year or two.”
If the program returns to prominence and wins a national championship, there is a bonus in Anderson’s contract that would earn him $25,000, just as if any other “minor” sport was to win a title.
Jones will be formally announced at a press conference on Thursday. His contract is still subject to the approval of the Arizona Board of Regents and the ASU human resources office.
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