Spates becomes new coach for the Cougar grapplers

News-DemocratJuly 23, 2013 

— After nine seasons as one of the nation's premier assistant coaches, Jeremy Spates has been named the new head coach for the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville wrestling program.

Spates comes to SIUE with an impressive track record of performance as both a coach and a student-athlete. He spent the last four seasons as an assistant at Cornell University, helping head xoach Rob Koll and the Big Red to a fifth-place finish at the 2013 NCAA Championships. He also spent five seasons as an assistant coach under his father, Jack Spates, at the University of Oklahoma.

"Jeremy has demonstrated throughout the past nine years as a coach and the four years as a student-athlete that he knows what it takes to be successful at a very high level," said SIUE Senior Associate Director of Athletics Jason Coomer. "We are very excited to have Jeremy join the SIUE family and are looking forward to many great years of SIUE wrestling to come."

Spates, who becomes the sixth head coach in SIUE wrestling's storied history, said he was excited to become a member of a program that continues to improve.

"It's pretty special to have a program moving up into the Division I ranks," Spates said. "We're going to be able to do some special things."

Spates was a 2004 NCAA All-American as a student-athlete at the University of Missouri. He was a three-time team captain under head coach Brian Smith. Spates competed at the 2004 National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star meet in Cedar Falls, Iowa, winning his 149-pound match. He was the 10th wrestler in Missouri history to record more than 100 victories.

His coaching career has included six top five team finishes in nine years as an assistant, including two runner-up finishes for Cornell in 2010 and 2011. The Cornell recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the nation in 2011. Spates has helped oversee seven individual NCAA Division I champions and 28 NCAA Division I All-Americans.

He was a major influence on the development of four-time national champion Kyle Dake, of Cornell, who became the nation's first wrestler in 2013 to win NCAA titles in four different weight classes. Dake was named Sports Illustrated Male College Athlete of the Year.

Spates said he will be looking for student-athletes who embody strength in academics, athletics and social/personal/family areas.

"We want kids who want to excel in all three of those areas. I think if you are doing great things in those areas, it's really going to rub off in other things. We're going to look for three-prong athletes who are total athletes," Spates said.

Spates has been involved at the ground level of collegiate wrestling whether it has been recruiting, running camps, developing individual training sessions, or fundraising.

"I've been in situations where we have had to bring programs back around. That's what I'm hoping to do at SIUE -- bring us to that next Division I level," Spates said.

While his initial goals will be developing Southern Conference (SoCon) champions and national qualifiers, Spates said his long-term goals are a bit loftier for the program.

"In the very near future, we expect to be winning conference championships and having All-Americans and national champions," Spates said. "The SoCon is an up-and-coming conference as well. We fit into that theme. You have a lot of programs with young coaches who are in there trying to bring their programs to the next level. I think as each team rises individually the conference as a whole is going to rise as well."

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