Jake Herbert and Andy Hrovat, former Big Ten matmen and past U.S. Olympic freestyle team members, have been named co-executive directors of Michigan USA Wrestling, the national governing body for the sport announced Saturday.
Herbert and Hrovat will be directly involved in youth wrestling in the state of Michigan, according to the USA Wrestling announcement.
Herbert, 28, a high school state champ in his native Pennsylvania, is arguably one of the most successful wrestlers in the history of Northwestern University wrestling. Herbert compiled a 149-4 wrestler primarily at 184 pounds, winning three Big Ten conference crowns (2006, 2007, 2009) and two NCAA Division I titles in 2007 and 2009. The product of Pittsburgh was presented with the Hodge Trophy in 2009 as the best college wrestler that year. He competed in freestyle at the 2012 London Olympics, placing seventh at 84 kilos/185 pounds.
In addition, Herbert has been an active member of the Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling (CPOW), a go-to guy for media-savvy quotes about the sport. And if that weren’t enough, Herbert plays early 1980s Oklahoma State wrestler Mike Sheets in the upcoming Hollywood movie “Foxcatcher” about Olympic gold medal-winning brothers Mark and Dave Schultz.
Hrovat, 33, was a two-time Ohio high school state champ before heading north to the University of Michigan. As a Wolverine, the Gates Mills, Ohio native compiled a 139-39 record, earning NCAA All-American honors three times (1999, 2001, 2002) and was a runner-up at 184 at the 2002 Big Ten championships. Hrovat represented the U.S. in freestyle at 84 kilos/185 pounds at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In 2005, he competed in Real Pro Wrestling, a paid form of amateur wrestling, and predecessor to more recent ventures such as Agon Wrestling, Tour ACW (Association of Career Wrestlers), and Victory Wrestling Challenge.
In addition to bringing valuable collegiate and freestyle expertise to their new position, Herbert and Hrovat also offer hands-on experience in conducting clinics for coaches and young wrestlers, and have developed an approach to working with youth.
“Our goal is to increase membership for USA Wrestling in the state, and to make wrestling better at all levels,” said Herbert. “After being in the state for the last three years, I am excited to have a fulltime position where I can make an impact here. I enjoy working with coaches and kids across the state.”
“The potential we see is that we are going after the masses within wrestling,” according to Hrovat. “We know what it takes to be a World class wrestler. We are confident that we can put young wrestlers on the right path where they can get where they want to be in the sport. We will be dealing with youth wrestlers. We want to make sure they are still treated as kids. We don’t want to make decisions based on the top 1% of wrestlers here. We want the 99%. We want to provide a product and a service which they see value in. We want them to come back for more.”
“It is an awesome resource to have two Olympians here to help in our state,” said Dan Coon, state chairman for Michigan USA Wrestling. “They are doing an outstanding job for us. They are getting to know more people from all across the state. They have gone out there and made many contacts on the high school and youth levels.”