Pac-10 Wrestling Awards (4/30/01)
April 30, 2001
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - ARIZONA STATE's Eric Larkin and former Sun Devil head coach Lee Roy Smith have been named Pac-10 Wrestler of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively, while OREGON STATE's Jed Pennell was honored as Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced today.
Larkin, a 141-pound sophomore from Tucson, Ariz., was selected by the coaches as Pac-10 Wrestler of the Year. He compiled a 28-2 season record and won the Conference title before qualifying for the NCAA Championships, where he finished third and earned All-America honors for the second consecutive season (the 14th Sun Devil to become a two-time All-American). It is the first Wrestler of the Year award for Larkin, ASU's second straight and 11th overall.
Smith won his fourth Pac-10 Coach of the Year award after guiding his team to its fifth Pac-10 title in nine years. Arizona State finished with an overall record of 10-5, giving Smith a 91-58-1 (.607) career mark at ASU. The Sun Devils went on to finish ninth at this year's NCAA Championships with three ASU wrestlers placing: Eric Larkin (3rd, 141-lbs.), Steve Blackford (5th, 165-lbs.) and David Douglas (7th, 133-lbs.). Smith's honor gives Arizona State its 11th Pac-10 Coach of the Year award all-time.
Pennell, a 165-pound redshirt freshman from Cave Junction, Ore., was picked as Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year. Pennell played a major role in leading the Beavers to a third-place finish in the Conference and tie for 18th at the NCAA Championships. He went 17-12 in his first season and finished fifth at the Pac-10 Championships before moving on to NCAA's.