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Sam Barber Named Air Force Wrestling Head Coach

May 19th, 2014 by Tom

Air Force Wrestling

USAFA, Colo. – Sam Barber has been named the head coach for the Air Force wrestling team, as announced today by Director of Athletics Dr. Hans Mueh. Barber takes over the reins after spending the past six years as an assistant coach for the Falcons.

“Sam Barber is highly respected within the wrestling community and amateur sports world for his integrity, class and inspiration to his athletes,” said Mueh. “I’m confident that the program will continue to thrive under his leadership, especially with the experience Bart Horton brings as his top assistant.”

Barber joined the Air Force wrestling program in 2008-09 as a volunteer assistant, before spending the past five seasons as a full-time assistant and recruiting coordinator for the Falcons. During his time at the Academy, Barber has coached 11 national qualifiers, while also making his mark as a recruiter, bringing in one of the top 25 classes in the nation in 2012.

With more than 18 years of coaching experience, Barber’s resume also includes a pair of head coaching stints, as well as 10 years coaching at the international level. He served as the head coach at his alma mater, Upper Iowa, and at perennial DIII powerhouse Augsburg College (Minn.).

Among Barber’s recent accomplishments on the international level include serving as the head coach of the 2012 FILA Cadet Pan American freestyle team and the 2013 FILA Junior Pan American freestyle team, which both captured gold medals. Additionally, Barber is responsible for coaching Jesus Wilson, who placed second in the 1999 World Team Trials.

“With humility and gratitude, I am excited to accept the challenge of becoming the next head coach at the United States Air Force Academy,” said Barber. “I would not be in this position without the support of so many people throughout my career. I would like to thank Dr. Mueh and Mr. George Nelson for providing me the opportunity to lead the Air Force Academy wrestling program.”

“On the mat, the vision will be to produce podium-prepared athletes who live a championship lifestyle,” continued Barber. “This will directly support the essence of the institution: to build leaders of character in service to our nation in a culture of commitment and a climate of respect.”

Bucky Maughan Retires From Univ of Northern Colorado

October 3rd, 2009 by Tom

GREELEY, Colo. -- After spending nearly his whole life in a wrestling room, Jack Maughan has decided it's time for a change.

And with that, an era has ended for Bears athletics.

Maughan this past season finished his 22nd year leading the Northern Colorado wrestling program, but he has announced his decision to step down from that leadership role and devote all of his energy to his duties as the athletic department's director of development, which he has also held in a dual-role for a little more than a year.

Maughan, who has memories of being less than a year old and rolling around on a mat with his father, Bucky, a legendary wrestling coach at North Dakota State, says his decision is effective immediately.

"This was a really, really difficult choice for me and my family, "said Maughan, who also coached the men's and women's golf teams during his time at Northern Colorado. "I think the hardest thing for me, now that I've made my decision, is that I'm not the coach anymore. That's a hard thing to come to terms with. It's a position of respect, and you get such a good feeling about working with bright, great kids. I'll certainly miss that.

"You always think that when you think the time is right, it's going to be easy to walk away, but it's definitely not. A lot of work has been put into this program over the last couple decades, and I know I'll never have the kind of relationships I've had again."

Jay Hinrichs, Northern Colorado's director of athletics, said he will immediately begin looking for Maughan's replacement. He also said Maughan's void in the wrestling program will be a hard one to fill.

"Jack has meant a great deal to the Northern Colorado athletic department, " Hinrichs said. "He will not ever be replaced. We will instead go out and find someone who we think can continue on with what he's been building. Jack leaves behind a program that's a definite player on the national stage.

"He played a huge role in our transition from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I, and he will continue that in his role as our director of development. It takes a special person to successfully fulfill two important positions in an athletic department, and Jack did that admirably this past year. He felt he was short-changing one of them, though, and he's decided to jump head-first into development. I'm grateful we're not saying goodbye to him altogether."

Maughan echoed those sentiments and said he's glad he's going to be able to stick around and have a front-row seat as the program moves forward.

"I'm really happy I'll still get to be here, "he said. "I'll still get to be around the wrestling program -- however, I certainly don't want to be meddling -- and be here to help and be a resource to whoever is hired to lead it into the future. Whatever that person may need, I'll be here for them.

"It just came down to me not wanting to be an anchor to a program I've devoted so much time to and love so much. And me doing two jobs wasn't doing anybody any good. I'm glad I'll get to stay at Northern Colorado. This is where I want to be and where my family wants to be."

During Maughan's tenure, which began in 1987, when he was 24 years old (the youngest head wrestling coach in Northern Colorado history) the Bears produced three NCAA champions, five runners-up and 46 All-America performers.

And Maughan's Bears were one of the first Northern Colorado programs eligible to compete at the NCAA Division I level. In that first season, Maughan had five wrestlers qualify for the NCAA Division I Championships, the 2007-08 season saw two Northern Colorado wrestlers qualify for nationals, and in 2008-09, three Bears moved on and competed on the highest national stage.

Maughan's teams finished among the nation's top-10 eight times, including third- and fourth-place finishes in 1991 and 1992, respectively, a fifth-place finish in 1996, a seventh-place finish in 2002 and eighth-place finishes in 1997 and 1998.

Maughan also was instrumental in the formation of the Western Wrestling Conference, which includes Northern Colorado and neighboring rivals Wyoming and Air Force, along with former North Central Conference rivals North Dakota State and South Dakota State. Northern Iowa and Utah Valley State are also members of the WCC.

"None of what we did while I was here would have been possible without the help of so many people, "Maughan said. "Hank Brown (former Northern Colorado president) was incredible in helping our program, and if it hadn't been for Dr. (Robert) Heiny, I probably wouldn't be a coach anyway. And Shannon Courtney (Maughan's athletic trainer for the past 18 years) did so much for me and the kids who have come through here, in a sport that lends itself to a lot of injuries. It's tough to put into words my thanks to that group.

"And I've had so many assistant coaches work with me, and I don't want to thank any of them in particular because I'll screw up and leave somebody out."

Maughan inherited a tradition-rich program in that first year, but the Bears hadn't had a winning dual-meet season since 1980, and they had finished at or near the bottom of the rugged North Central Conference five of the previous six years.

Maughan began to rebuild the program almost immediately, though, by recruiting some of the best high school wrestlers that Colorado and the west region had to offer. Within five years, the Bears boasted a pair of two-time national champions in Mike Pantoya of Thornton, Colo., and Mike Leberknight of Rapids City, S.D., and the school's first-ever four-time All-American in Scott Gates of Englewood, Colo., as well as the best back-to-back national finishes (third and fourth) in school history.

To give his athletes and the Northern Colorado fans a firsthand look at the nation's finest wrestlers, Maughan brought the 1992 NCAA Division II Championships to Greeley, and when the Bears placed fourth and produced a national champion, Maughan's peers selected him the 1992 Division II National Coach of the Year.

Maughan was instrumental in the NCAA bringing its Division II Wrestling Championships back to Greeley in 1996, and the program responded by breaking the tournament paid attendance record. Maughan's program hosted the NCAA Championships again in 2001, and the Division I West Regional qualifying tournament in 2009.

Cherrington Named Interim Head Coach at Northern Colorado

August 4th, 2009 by Tom

 GREELEY, Colo. - University of Northern Colorado director of athletics Jay Hinrichs today announced that Ben Cherrington will serve as the interim head coach of the wrestling team for the 2009-10 season.

"We are pleased to elevate Coach Cherrington to this most important position within our department, "said Hinrichs. "We are confident that Cherrington has the ability to continue the success of Northern Colorado wrestling has had in the past, while he achieves his personal goals of bringing NCAA Championship quality student-athletes to campus."

Cherrington has served as an assistant coach for the Bears for the past two years after joining from an extremely successful collegiate career at Boise State. Cherrington was crowned the 2006 NCAA Division I Champion at 157 pounds, winning 20 straight matches en route to the title. He won three Pac-10 Conference titles and advanced to four NCAA tournaments. He posted a record of 93-32 throughout his time as a Bronco.

"I would like to thank Jay Hinrichs and the rest of the administration for giving me this opportunity, "said Cherrington. "I look forward to this upcoming season at the helm of Northern Colorado wrestling. Over the next year I will look to continue to build the Northern Colorado wrestling into a top Division I program. We have all of the necessary resources and support to become a top team. It will be my job to develop our athletes both on and off the mat, and make sure they represent UNC and the community of Greeley in a manner we can all be proud of.

"I would also like to thank Jack Maughan for all he has done for UNC wrestling and for me in my two years of working with him. I realize that this will be a challenging task and it will not happen overnight, but I welcome the challenge and look forward to the immediate and distant future of UNC wrestling."

Cherrington is a well-known name in Colorado wrestling, as he wrestled for his father Cal Cherrington at Middle Park High School in Granby. There he compiled a record of 141-3 and won three state titles and was runner-up in his sophomore season. As a senior, he was named the 3A Outstanding Wrestler.

Cherrington and his wife Katie reside in Greeley and are the proud parents of a newborn son, Caden.

Bucky Maughan Retires From Univ of Northern Colorado

July 28th, 2009 by Tom

GREELEY, Colo. -- After spending nearly his whole life in a wrestling room, Jack Maughan has decided it's time for a change.

And with that, an era has ended for Bears athletics.

Maughan this past season finished his 22nd year leading the Northern Colorado wrestling program, but he has announced his decision to step down from that leadership role and devote all of his energy to his duties as the athletic department's director of development, which he has also held in a dual-role for a little more than a year.

Maughan, who has memories of being less than a year old and rolling around on a mat with his father, Bucky, a legendary wrestling coach at North Dakota State, says his decision is effective immediately.

"This was a really, really difficult choice for me and my family, "said Maughan, who also coached the men's and women's golf teams during his time at Northern Colorado. "I think the hardest thing for me, now that I've made my decision, is that I'm not the coach anymore. That's a hard thing to come to terms with. It's a position of respect, and you get such a good feeling about working with bright, great kids. I'll certainly miss that.

"You always think that when you think the time is right, it's going to be easy to walk away, but it's definitely not. A lot of work has been put into this program over the last couple decades, and I know I'll never have the kind of relationships I've had again."

Jay Hinrichs, Northern Colorado's director of athletics, said he will immediately begin looking for Maughan's replacement. He also said Maughan's void in the wrestling program will be a hard one to fill.

"Jack has meant a great deal to the Northern Colorado athletic department, "Hinrichs said. "He will not ever be replaced. We will instead go out and find someone who we think can continue on with what he's been building. Jack leaves behind a program that's a definite player on the national stage.

"He played a huge role in our transition from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I, and he will continue that in his role as our director of development. It takes a special person to successfully fulfill two important positions in an athletic department, and Jack did that admirably this past year. He felt he was short-changing one of them, though, and he's decided to jump head-first into development. I'm grateful we're not saying goodbye to him altogether."

Maughan echoed those sentiments and said he's glad he's going to be able to stick around and have a front-row seat as the program moves forward.

"I'm really happy I'll still get to be here, "he said. "I'll still get to be around the wrestling program -- however, I certainly don't want to be meddling -- and be here to help and be a resource to whoever is hired to lead it into the future. Whatever that person may need, I'll be here for them.

"It just came down to me not wanting to be an anchor to a program I've devoted so much time to and love so much. And me doing two jobs wasn't doing anybody any good. I'm glad I'll get to stay at Northern Colorado. This is where I want to be and where my family wants to be."

During Maughan's tenure, which began in 1987, when he was 24 years old (the youngest head wrestling coach in Northern Colorado history) the Bears produced three NCAA champions, five runners-up and 46 All-America performers.

And Maughan's Bears were one of the first Northern Colorado programs eligible to compete at the NCAA Division I level. In that first season, Maughan had five wrestlers qualify for the NCAA Division I Championships, the 2007-08 season saw two Northern Colorado wrestlers qualify for nationals, and in 2008-09, three Bears moved on and competed on the highest national stage.

Maughan's teams finished among the nation's top-10 eight times, including third- and fourth-place finishes in 1991 and 1992, respectively, a fifth-place finish in 1996, a seventh-place finish in 2002 and eighth-place finishes in 1997 and 1998.

Maughan also was instrumental in the formation of the Western Wrestling Conference, which includes Northern Colorado and neighboring rivals Wyoming and Air Force, along with former North Central Conference rivals North Dakota State and South Dakota State. Northern Iowa and Utah Valley State are also members of the WCC.

"None of what we did while I was here would have been possible without the help of so many people, "Maughan said. "Hank Brown (former Northern Colorado president) was incredible in helping our program, and if it hadn't been for Dr. (Robert) Heiny, I probably wouldn't be a coach anyway. And Shannon Courtney (Maughan's athletic trainer for the past 18 years) did so much for me and the kids who have come through here, in a sport that lends itself to a lot of injuries. It's tough to put into words my thanks to that group.

"And I've had so many assistant coaches work with me, and I don't want to thank any of them in particular because I'll screw up and leave somebody out."

Maughan inherited a tradition-rich program in that first year, but the Bears hadn't had a winning dual-meet season since 1980, and they had finished at or near the bottom of the rugged North Central Conference five of the previous six years.

Maughan began to rebuild the program almost immediately, though, by recruiting some of the best high school wrestlers that Colorado and the west region had to offer. Within five years, the Bears boasted a pair of two-time national champions in Mike Pantoya of Thornton, Colo., and Mike Leberknight of Rapids City, S.D., and the school's first-ever four-time All-American in Scott Gates of Englewood, Colo., as well as the best back-to-back national finishes (third and fourth) in school history.

To give his athletes and the Northern Colorado fans a firsthand look at the nation's finest wrestlers, Maughan brought the 1992 NCAA Division II Championships to Greeley, and when the Bears placed fourth and produced a national champion, Maughan's peers selected him the 1992 Division II National Coach of the Year.

Maughan was instrumental in the NCAA bringing its Division II Wrestling Championships back to Greeley in 1996, and the program responded by breaking the tournament paid attendance record. Maughan's program hosted the NCAA Championships again in 2001, and the Division I West Regional qualifying tournament in 2009.