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Ryan Bader Looking To Continue Meteoric Rise

October 7th, 2010 by Tom

Ryan Bader Ryan Bader, a light heavyweight prospect climbing the ranks of a stacked division only four fights into his UFC career, has been on a meteoric rise since his time in "The Ultimate Fighter" house.

His rise can quite simply be summed up with the opponent the UFC has selected him to take on next, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.

Nogueira's extensive career in the sport has garnered him a reputation as one of the best, and at UFC 106 he showed why.

The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and top level striker took on fast-rising knockout artist Luiz Cane in his UFC debut, decimating his fellow Brazilian in the opening round with a striking assault that led to the knockout. He followed up the win with an unimpressive split-decision victory over Jason Brilz at UFC 114, but, regardless of his prior performance, his reputation as one of the division's best remains.

And Bader realizes this.

"I'm not going to take anything lightly judging from his last fight at all," said Bader in his interview with UFC.com. "It's a huge step up in competition. A top five, top ten guy, but that's where I want to be. You're not going to progress not fighting those kinds of guys."

Bader is progressing in this sport at an impressive rate. His opponent, a 22-fight veteran of mixed martial arts, having fought in promotions such as PRIDE and Affliction, has been fighting since 2001. Bader, on the other hand, has only been a professional mixed martial artist since 2007.

Yet even with only limited experience, the 11-0 light heavyweight has cruised through nearly every fighter set before him. He rolled through the competition on "The Ultimate Fighter", won his next two fights, and then the promotion considered him ready for a big jump up in competition.

Keith Jardine, a longtime veteran of the sport and former contender, was his most recent test, the man to determine whether or not Bader could enter into the next tier of competition. Bader battled Jardine for two and one-half rounds before earning the knockout victory in what was certainly one of his most impressive wins to date. But, with the work ethic and drive he has, one should not be surprised at the consistent results.

"If there is anything that I take from Lil' Nog is the respect and that I do have to work my ass off in the gym," said Bader. "Day in and day out, I'm going to put that work in and there's nothing left to do but fight. You can talk all you want. You can go over gameplans all you want, but it's on you when you get in the Octagon, when you touch gloves, do whatever you have to do. You're in a fight now."

Bader will certainly find himself in a competitive fight on September 25. "Lil' Nog" is undoubtedly his most accomplished opponent yet. While Nogueira brings with him a well-rounded game with his high level striking and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Bader brings with him incredible wrestling and power in his hands.

Bader's most notable success in wrestling began while he was in high school, winning two state championships during his time at McQueen High School. After that, Bader joined the highly-touted Arizona State University wrestling squad, joining the likes of Cain Velasquez and C.B. Dolloway on the squad. While there, Bader won three PAC 10 championships and was a NCAA Division I All-American on two occasions.

To say his amateur wrestling career was a success simply does not do it justice. Bader boasted a phenomenal career with a plethora of championships and an incredible amount of wins (120 throughout his collegiate career). Bader, however, says that all his accomplishments are pushed aside when the cage door closes, because in a fight, no matter how many titles you have held, or how many wins you have, the man across from you is looking to take all the credibility you have gained away from you.

"Accolades and everything go out the window," said Bader. "It's just you and your opponent. I want to be the best. My ultimate goal is to be champion and I have to go through these guys to do that."

Author: Nate Lawson

AZ State Adds Baskren, Snyder & Jordan to Coaching Staff

August 3rd, 2009 by Tom

TEMPE - Former collegiate standouts Bryan Snyder, Ben Askren and Raymond Jordan have joined the coaching staff of the Arizona State University wrestling program, Head Coach Shawn Charles announced Tuesday. All three individuals, who will join current assistant coach Brian Stith on the staff, were multiple All-Americans and conference champions in their time on the mats and will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the mats in Tempe.

"I am very excited to have all three of these men on my staff, "Charles said. "I have worked with them all in the past and I believe they bring a lot to the table as we push to become a very successful program once again. I really feel our coaching staff is second-to-none and I know each of these men are ready to work hard to help our program succeed both on the mats and off. I look forward to watching this program continue to grow with their help."

A four-time All-American and two-time NCAA runner-up for Nebraska, Snyder will serve as the head assistant coach on Charles' staff while both Askren and Jordan will serve as volunteer assistant coaches. Askren, a 2008 U.S. Olympian and two-time NCAA Champion at Missouri, and Jordan, a two-time All-American at Missouri, will also continue their training as members of the Sunkist Kids organization while assisting with the Sun Devil program. All three have worked with Charles in the past as well: Charles was a coach during Snyder's senior season and both were on the staff together for two seasons (2003-04 and 2004-05); Charles was an assistant coach at MU for the past two years where Askren was a volunteer coach and Jordan was a competitor for the Tigers.

Snyder was one of the top wrestlers at 157 pounds from 1999-02 as he collected four All-America honors after placing fourth, fifth, second and second in his NCAA appearances. One of the few four-time champions in the history of the Big XII Conference, Snyder compiled a career record of 136-11 with his .925 winning percentage standing as the best in Husker history. Snyder was equally as successful in the classroom during his time in Lincoln as he was selected as the school's 2002 Student-Athlete of the Year. He graduated from NU with a pair of degrees (Sociology and Communication Studies) in 2002 before coaching at Harvard for one season. After his stint with the Crimson, Snyder returned to NU where he served as a graduate assistant coach while working toward his Masters in Sociology, which he earned in 2005. Recently, he has spent the past three years at the University of Colorado where he studied as a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology.

"I am really excited to work alongside Shawn Charles and the rest of the staff to bring Arizona State back to national prominence, "Snyder said. I am confident that we can do big things at Arizona State and I am anxious to get on campus and get to work by helping our student-athletes excel on the mat and in the classroom as well."

"Bryan is going to help me bring together all the pieces that we need to make our program very successful, "Charles said. "He coached at Harvard as well and academics is big on his list. I know he is going to help make sure that our wrestlers are doing the things academically that we need to do to be among the top programs in our sport and across the board. We are going to go after wrestlers that can get the job done in the classroom as well as on the mat and he will be a big part of that. He also is from one of the more prestigious high schools in the country (Easton High School in Pennsylvania) and I feel he will be able to help us attract some of the East Coast talent that will continue to help the Sun Devil program rise to the top once again."

Askren was one of the elite collegiate competitors in the nation during his time at Missouri (2003-07) where his exciting style of wrestling led him to the finals of the 174-pound weight class at the NCAA Championships four times. A three-time Big XII champion, Askren won the national title in each of his last two seasons by winning 87 matches in a row and pinning numerous foes. For his dominance, he was named the Dan Hodge Winner twice while also collecting the Schalles Award (Best Pinner) twice. Askren built a career record of 153-7 in Columbia with 93 wins by fall (fourth-best in NCAA history) while also posting a national record of 18-consecutive wins by fall in the first period. A four-time NWCA All-Academic and four-time Academic All-Big XII honoree, Askren spent the past two years as a volunteer assistant coach with the Tigers while training for and competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where the member of Team USA went 1-1 in the 74kg freestyle competition.

"I am very excited to help Coach Charles take the Sun Devils back to the top, "Askren said. "Coach Charles helped me tremendously in my Olympic run in 2008. I feel like Arizona State is a great school to recruit at and has the potential to challenge for a national title year after year. I am very motivated to seeing that become reality and look forward to doing all I can to help the Sun Devils reach that goal."

"With all his accolades, Ben certainly brings a lot of wrestling credentials to the table, "Charles said. "He is going to be the guy that will work with our 165, 174 and 184-pound wrestlers and help prepare them to compete at a high level and to become national champions. He is a great guy and has a unique style of wrestling, which many call "funk". He will be able to teach our guys a different style of wrestling that I feel will help them understand the sport better and give them more tools to become better wrestlers and win more matches."

Jordan is the most recent graduate on the staff as he graduated in December with his degree in personal finance planning from MU. A four-time NCAA qualifier, Jordan was a two-time All-American for the Tigers and just the fourth MU wrestler to earn the national honor in multiple weight classes as he finished fifth at 184 pounds as a junior and then was third at 174 pounds as a senior. The 2007 Big XII champion at 184, Jordan compiled a career record of 123-29 and was the 15th wrestler in the program's history to record 100 or more victories in a career. His win total also stands as the fourth-most in program history. A three-time high school state champion from North Carolina and a high school All-American, Jordan was involved with the MU program off the mats as well as he served as the president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) on campus during his senior year.

"I am excited to come to Arizona State and work alongside a talented group of coaches, "Jordan said. "The program has a strong tradition of being very successful and I am looking forward to helping restore that reputation. ASU is only one of a handful of programs that has tasted what it is like to win a National Championship and I hope to help them reach their goals of achieving that title again. I am really appreciative of this opportunity to join the Sun Devil staff and look forward to many great years ahead."

"Raymond is a hard worker and earned many accolades at Missouri, "Charles said. "He will work with our wrestlers at 184, 197 and heavyweight and I know he will work hard to make sure those student-athletes are physically ready to compete and be well prepared to challenge for All-America honors and national titles. I am very happy to have someone like Raymond in our program because he is an all-around good guy with great character and determination to succeed. I was very excited when he told me he would be coming out to train with Sunkist and to help our program as well."

The Sun Devil coaching staff is currently preparing for the 2009-10 season and will look to build upon the program's 20th-place showing at the 2009 NCAA Wrestling Championships. ASU will be led by a pair of returning All-Americans in Anthony Robles (fourth place at 125) and Chris Drouin (sixth place at 141).

The Snyder File
"¢ Four-time All-American for Nebraska at 157 pounds (1999-02)
"¢ Two-time NCAA finalist (2001, 2002)
"¢ Four-time Big XII Conference champion
"¢ Three-time NWCA All-Star participant
"¢ Career 136-11 overall and 69-4 dual records (#2 on NU wins lists)
"¢ Career winning percentage leader at NU (.925)
"¢ Four-time NWCA All-Academic
"¢ Four-time Academic All-Big XII selection
"¢ Graduated from NU in 2002 (two degrees: Sociology, Communication Studies) and in 2005 (Master's in Sociology)
"¢ Working toward Ph.D. in Sociology at Colorado

The Askren File
"¢ 2008 U.S. Champion and U.S. Olympian (74kg freestyle)
"¢ Two-time NCAA Champion for Missouri at 174 pounds (2006, 2007)
"¢ Four-time NCAA finalist and All-American (2004-07)
"¢ Three-time Big XII Conference champion
"¢ Two-time Dan Hodge Award winner
"¢ Two-time Schalles Award winner
"¢ Career 153-7 record at MU
"¢ Won 93 matches by fall (fourth-most in NCAA history)
"¢ Won 18-consecutive matches by fall in the first period (NCAA record)
"¢ Undefeated over his last two years of competition at MU
"¢ Won his last 87 matches in a row (Top 10 in NCAA history)
"¢ Four-time NWCA All-Academic selection
"¢ Four-time Academic All-Big XII selection
"¢ Graduated from Missouri in 2007

The Jordan File
"¢ Two-time All-American for Missouri at 174 (2009) and 184 (2008)
"¢ Only the fourth Tiger to earn All-America honors at two different weights
"¢ Four-time NCAA qualifier (three times at 184 and once at 174)
"¢ 2007 Big XII Champion at 184 pounds
"¢ Career record of 123-29 made him the 15th Tiger to win 100 or more matches in a career
"¢ His 123 career wins ranks as the fourth-most in MU history
"¢ Graduated from MU in December 2008 with a degree in Personal Finance Planning

Shawn Charles Named Head Coach at Arizona State

May 15th, 2009 by Tom

Wrestling names Shawn Charles to head coaching position

Shawn Charles, a four-time All-American and two-time national runner-up at Arizona State University, has been named the head coach of the Sun Devil wrestling program, Senior Associate Athletic Director Don Bocchi announced Friday. Charles, an Arizona native and one of the more successful Sun Devils in the program's history, will become only the sixth head coach in the program's 47-year history.

"We are very excited to announce Shawn Charles as our head wrestling coach and feel that his drive to succeed and his determination to bring Arizona State wrestling back to the top of the standings is exactly what we are looking for," Bocchi said. "His passion for this great sport is very evident and we believe he is going to put everything he has into helping our program return to the success he and his teammates enjoyed when they competed. We also found his commitment to the total student-athlete concept on pace with our desires to help these young men succeed in the classroom and in the community both now and in the future. We are encouraged by the experiences he has had elsewhere and we are looking forward to seeing what Coach Charles and his Sun Devils achieve in the years to come."

"I am excited to be back at my Alma mater and to be the guy to put it all together and make Arizona State successful once again," Charles said. "It is a great opportunity to come back to Tempe and strengthen this program as a coach and I am looking forward to goals I have set for this team in the coming years. One of my goals is to get the community involved with our program. I really believe that wrestling is a viable form of entertainment and I would really like to see the communities around Arizona get involved in supporting this form of entertainment.

"I also think it is important for our student-athletes to be recognized not only for their achievements on the mats, but in the classrooms as well," Charles said. "I want to win championships, but I also want to make sure our young men are succeeding academically and setting their sites on the future by graduating from college. For me, I know the environment, I know the community, I know the boosters, I know the alumni and I know the task that is front of me and I know that makes me the best person to help drive this program forward and do the things I need to do to ensure that Arizona State wrestling stays a Division I program and wins championships."

Charles will have a wealth of knowledge at his disposal as he works to bring the program back to the top of the national and conference standings after being there himself as a Sun Devil. In his years in Tempe (1990-93), Charles helped the Sun Devils to three Pac-10 Championships (1990, 1991 and 1993) while also helping the team place among the Top 6 nationally in each of the those three seasons, including a national runner-up finish in 1990 and a fourth-place showing in 1993. He earned All-America honors in all four of his years on the mat at 126 pounds, placing fifth as a freshman and fourth as a sophomore before taking national runner-up honors in his final two campaigns.

A two-time Pac-10 individual champion (1992 and 1993), Charles collected 103 victories in his collegiate career, ranking him tied for 19th on the program's all-time wins list. He also ranks 19th in career dual-match victories after he posted a 44-15-5 record in those matches. Charles also was a two-time competitor in the East-West All-Star Dual and captured the Las Vegas Invitational twice while also finishing second at the prestigious Midlands Championships once during his Sun Devil career.

Upon earning his Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from ASU in 1993, the native of Tucson, Ariz., began his coaching career that has taken him all over the nation in the collegiate ranks and around the world as a representative of USA Wrestling. Charles, who has worked with programs in the Big XII Conference, the Mid-America Conference (MAC), the Ivy League and the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), began his coaching career at Iowa State (1993-95) where he served as an assistant coach before he returned to the Valley of the Sun to serve as the head assistant coach at Phoenix College (1995-96).

From there, he returned to the Big XII where he worked as the assistant freestyle wrestling coach at Oklahoma (1996-97) before Central Michigan brought him as its head assistant coach (1997-01). While at CMU, eleven wrestlers earned All-America status and one was crowned national champion in 1999. Overall, the team recorded a pair of Top 10 national finishes as well.

Charles was then named the head assistant coach at Nebraska (2001-05) and helped the Corn huskers to two Top 10 finishes with 11 All-Americans and one national champion. With 22 All-Americans, two national champions and four Top 10 team finishes on his resume, Fresno State brought Charles back to the West by naming him the head coach. Despite qualifying four wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, including future Sun Devil Greg Gifford, the program was discontinued after his only year, sending Charles across the nation to Brown (2006-07) for a one-year stint as it's assistant coach.

Over the past two seasons, Charles worked with a Big XII program, this time helping Missouri's program to a seventh-place finish in 2009 and five individual All-America honors. All told in his brief stint in Columbia, Mo., the Tigers earned eight All-America honors and had one individual champion. All told in his 18 years of coaching, Charles has worked with 39 NCAA All-Americans and three individual NCAA champions while also helping teams to Top 10 finishes as the NCAA Championships on seven occasions.

But his dedication to excellence was not only felt on the mats, it was recognized in the classroom as well. Three of his wrestlers were selected for scholar-athlete of the year honors while each of his coaching stops has seen him work with at least one national all-academic honoree. He also has participated in countless community activities at each of his coaching stops while also working to create and/or improve club wrestling programs in those areas.

Away from the collegiate coaching scene, Charles also has coached internationally, which includes him being named to the 2009 University World Team coaching staff after serving on the U.S. Olympic staff in both 2004 and 2008. A coach with Sunkist Kids, Charles also has served as a coach for two World Cups (2003, 2007) and has helped lead the U.S. at two international tournaments in the Ukraine. Most recently, Charles worked with MU wrestler Ben Askren, who represented the U.S. at the 2008 Olympics.

As an international competitor, Charles claimed 14 titles, including victories at tournaments in Iran, Manitoba (Canada), Slovakia, Bulgaria and Turkey while also winning the U.S. Open, the NYAC International and the Pan-American Championships. Along with several U.S. national titles, Charles twice placed second at the World Team Trials and was an alternate on the 1996 U.S. Olympic freestyle team.

Charles began his wrestling career in Tucson and competed for Santa Rita High School. While at SRHS, he captured three state titles over the course of his final three years and also won the division championship all three years.

Charles and his wife, the former Jill Hansen, are the parents of two boys, Shawn Charles, Jr. (seven) and Titus "Tyty" Charles (five).

The Charles File
"¢ ASU's first four-time wrestling All-American (5th in 1990, 4th in 1991, 2nd in 1992, 2nd in 1992)
"¢ Two-time Pac-10 Conference champion at 126 pounds
"¢ Graduated from Arizona State in 1993 with B.S. in Computer Information Systems
"¢ Ranks 19th (tie) on the ASU all-time victories list (103)
"¢ Native of Tucson, Ariz., where he won three state titles at Santa Rita High School
"¢ Has coached in four Division I conferences, including the Big XII, Ivy, Western Athletic and Mid-American
"¢ Has worked with 39 NCAA Division I All-Americans and three individual NCAA Champions
"¢ Helped teams place among the Top 10 nationally in the NCAA Division I Championships seven times

Charles' Coaching Resume
2007-09 - Missouri (assistant coach)
2006-07 - Brown (assistant coach)
2005-06 - Fresno State (head coach)
2001-05 - Nebraska (head assistant coach)
1997-01 - Central Michigan (head assistant coach)
1996-97 - Oklahoma (assistant freestyle coach)
1995-96 - Phoenix College (head coach)
1993-95 - Iowa State (assistant coach)

Robles named Pac-10 Wrestler of the Year

April 7th, 2009 by Tom

Arizona State University Sports Information

TEMPE -- The Pacific-10 Conference announced its annual wrestling award winners and Anthony Robles, a sophomore on the Arizona State University team, has been voted as the Pac-10 Wrestler of the Year, it was announced Wednesday. The 10th different Sun Devil to earn the wrestler of the year honor, Robles was selected in a vote of the conference coaches after winning his first Pac-10 title at 125 pounds and garnering All-America honors.

A native of Mesa, Ariz., Robles entered the Pac-10 Championships as the top-seed in his weight class, holding a 7-0 record against Pac-10 foes. At the Championships, Robles was voted as the Most Outstanding Wrestler as he went 3-0 with two wins by technical fall and one by pin en route to his first Pac-10 title. One year after falling in the finals, Robles came back and opened with a 16-0 technical fall in the first round before pinning Andre Gonzalez of CS Fullerton at 3:23 in the semifinals. In the championship match, Robles rolled his way to a 17-1 technical fall over Brandon Zoeteway of CS Bakersfield.

Following his first title, Robles added another first as he claimed All-America honors by going 4-2 overall and placing fourth at the NCAA Wrestling Championships in St. Louis, Mo. Seeded 12th in the tournament, Robles opened with a 5-0 victory over Nikko Triggas of Ohio State before upsetting No. 5 Charlie Falck of Iowa, 8-3. In the quarterfinals, Robles assured himself of All-America honors as he upset No. 4 Brandon Precin of Northwestern with a 9-0 major decision. In the semifinals, however, No. 1 Paul Donahoe of Edinboro knocked Robles into the consolation rounds with a 5-2 decision before Robles again scored an upset with a 19-10 major decision over No. 11 Zachary Sanders of Minnesota. In the medal round, Precin came out on top with a 3-1 decision, giving Robles a fourth-place showing.

Overall, Robles ended his sophomore season with a 29-8 record overall and, of those 29 wins, 25 produced bonus points. On the year, Robles won a team-high 10 matches by technical fall, a team-high nine by pin fall and added three by major decision and two more by forfeit.

Historically, Robles is one of 10 Sun Devils that have collected 15 conference wrestler of the year honors, which stands as the most of any team in the league with Oregon State in second with eight total honors. Overall since the Pac-10 began awarding the wrestler and coach of the year awards in 1979 and the addition of the newcomer award in 2000, the Sun Devil program has accumulated 30 total awards (15 coaching honors with 15 wrestler of the year) with OSU's 16 and Boise States' nine rounding out the Top 3. BSU moved into third this year after Greg Randall was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year and Jason Chamberlain was named Newcomer of the Year.

Robles also became the first wrestler in the lowest weight class to win the Pac-10 honor since former Sun Devil Gary Bohay won in 1983 while competing at 126 pounds. Outside of Robles and Bohay, the only other wrestler under 141 pounds to win the award was OSU's Babak Mohammadi (134 pounds) in 1994. Bohay's honor was the first for the Sun Devil program and since then, Pac-10 Wrestler of the Year honorees have included Eddie Urbano (1985), Adam Cohen (1986), Mike Davies (1987 & 1988), Dan St. John (1989 & 1990), Ray Miller (1992 & 1993), Steve Blackford (2000), Eric Larkin (2001, 2002 & 2003) and Cain Velasquez (2005).

Reversal! Arizona State Reinstates Wrestling!

May 27th, 2008 by Tom

Arizona State University Sports Information

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State University Vice President for Athletics Lisa Love announced Friday that the athletic department is fully reinstating the sport of varsity wrestling, effective immediately, due to financial support from local civic leadership. The reinstatement of wrestling gives ASU 21 sports in its varsity athletic program.

"It is with great pleasure that I announce the reinstatement of the varsity sport of wrestling at ASU, "says Love. "The wrestling community, both locally and nationally, accepted this as a challenge to do something wonderful for the sport. ASU is forever grateful for that passion and unwavering support. Something special is happening on our campus thanks to civic leadership that cares deeply about ASU wrestling."

ASU had announced on May 13, 2008 that it was discontinuing the sport of wrestling due to the rising cost of operating a 22-sport varsity program. It was determined at that time that sponsoring a 20-sport program would better fit ASU,¹s athletic financial profile. Love indicated at the time that if the wrestling community were able to raise enough financial support the sport could be reinstated. That commitment is there and the sport will continue at Arizona State.

Love said that fundraising for the sport of wrestling will be an ongoing process. The objective is not just to sponsor wrestling as a varsity sport, but to position the sport as one of the top programs in the country.

The Sun Devil wrestling team is a member of the Pacific-10 Conference.

For more information regarding giving to assist the Sun Devil varsity sports programs, visit www.sundevilclub.com.