Wrestling's Thom Ortiz Named Pac-10 Coach of the Year

March 29, 2006

TEMPE, Ariz. - For the second year in a row, Arizona State University Head Wrestling Coach Thom Ortiz was selected as the Pac-10 Conference Coach of the Year, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced Wednesday. The honor is the third in Ortiz' five years at the helm of the Sun Devil program and the 15th for an ASU head coach in the 31 years the conference has recognized its top coach.

Ortiz helped his Sun Devils post a 14-7 overall record in dual competition with a perfect 8-0 mark in the Pac-10 before heading to the 2006 Pac-10 Championships in Palo Alto, Calif., where the Sun Devils successfully defended their conference crown from one year prior. Five of his 10 starters advanced to the finals with Patrick Pitsch (165), Ryan Bader (197) and Cain Velasquez (285) winning individual titles.

From there, Ortiz led six competitors into the 2006 NCAA Wrestling Championships where four earned All-America honors to help the team finish sixth in the nation. Brian Stith (157) advanced to the finals before placing second while C.B. Dollaway (184) finished fifth overall to earn his first All-America honor. Bader (seventh) and Velasquez (fourth) each earned their second All-America honor with Ortiz in their corner.

Ortiz, who helped ASU tie Oregon State for the most Pac-10 wrestling titles in conference history with 16, is now tied for fourth in the Pac-10 for number of coaching honors as he, T.J. Kerr of CS Bakersfield and Mike Young of Boise State each have earned the honor three times. Former coaches Lee Roy Smith (ASU) and Dale Thomas (OSU) are tied for the second-most with four while former Sun Devil Bobby Douglas holds the most with eight.

Two other individual honors were released with Boise State winning both as Ben Cherrington was selected as the Wrestler of the Year while Tyler Sherfey was selected as the Newcomer/Freshman of the Year.

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