COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Wrestling, the national governing body for amateur wrestling in the United States, has named John Smith of Stillwater, Okla., and Terry Brands of Iowa City, Iowa as coaches of the 2010 U.S. Freestyle World Team.
“It’s an honor to coach this team and it’s definitely something I look at as building toward the 2012 Olympics for our freestyle team. It’s a great challenge for us as a team as we continue to build toward being the best,” said Smith.
Both have coached past U.S. World and Olympic teams in freestyle wrestling. Smith was the coach of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team, as well as the 1998, 1999 and 2009 U.S. World Team Coach. Prior to taking the Iowa position, Brands worked as USA Wrestling’s National Freestyle Resident Coach from 2005-2008, and coached with the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team and three U.S. World Teams (2005-07). Both have coached individual World and Olympic champion wrestlers for the United States.
Both are among the greatest freestyle wrestlers in history, and have been elected as Distinguished Members of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Smith won two Olympic gold medals (1988, 1992) and four World titles (1987, 1989-91), stringing his six gold medals in consecutive years. Brands was a two-time World champion (1993, 1995) and won an Olympic bronze medal in 2000.
Smith went on to say, “the team is different this year, from a standpoint that there are some new athletes who broke through. I do believe this tells us we are building our depth back up in freestyle wrestling. The expectation for us is that we win several more medals than we did last year.”
Smith served as a co-head coach for the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team, which competed in Sydney, Australia. The U.S. won four individual medals, including a gold medal from Brandon Slay.
He is currently the head coach at Oklahoma State Univ., one of the most successful Div. I wrestling programs in history. He is the winningest coach in Oklahoma State history, with a 296-44-5 career record. He has led the Cowboys to five NCAA team titles (1995, 2003-2006).
Oklahoma State has won 11 Big 12 team titles under Smith. Eight times, Smith has been Big 12 Coach of the Year. As an athlete, Smith was considered by many the best freestyle wrestler in U.S. history. He claimed gold medals at the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games, and won four World gold medals (1987, 1989, 1990, 1991). His six straight World-level titles is unprecedented. He also won titles at the Pan American Games (twice), Goodwill Games (twice) and the World Cup. Smith won most of the major awards in amateur athletics, including the James E. Sullivan Award, the USOC SportsMan of the Year and the World Trophy. He was FILA Wrestler of the Year in 1991, and won the 1990 FILA Master of Technique Award.
He is a member of the FILA International Hall of Fame and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, along with many other major honors. In 2004, Smith was presented with the Titan Award by the U.S. Olympic Committee, and the next year, he joined his brother Pat as one of 15 wrestlers named to the NCAA’s 75th Anniversary Team. Smith was a two-time NCAA champion for Oklahoma State (1987-88) and a three-time All-American. He originally hails from Del City, Okla., where he won two state high school titles.
They will work with USA Wrestling National Freestyle Coach Zeke Jones of Colorado Springs, Colo., and the USA Wrestling national coaching staff to lead the team that will compete at the 2010 World Wrestling Championships in Moscow, Russia, Sept. 6-12.
Smith serves as the head wrestling coach at Oklahoma State University, and Brands is the assistant wrestling coach at the University of Iowa. Their programs are annually among the most successful in college wrestling, with Oklahoma State and Iowa having won the most NCAA team titles of any other programs.