Larkin Named Pac-10 Wrestler of the Year and Ortiz to Coaching Honor

April 2, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. - Eric Larkin (Sr., Tucson, Ariz.), a member of the Arizona State wrestling team, and Thom Ortiz, the head coach of the Sun Devil squad, were honored by the Pac-10 Conference Wednesday as the wrestler and coach of the year, respectively. Larkin earned top billing for the third year in a row while Ortiz, in his second year at the helm of the program, secured his first coaching accolade.

Larkin, the 2003 NCAA Champion at 149 pounds, went undefeated at 34-0 and won his fourth conference crown to help the Sun Devils lay claim to their 14th team title. A career 123-12 record holder, Larkin joins heavyweight Stephen Neal of Cal State Bakersfield (1997-99) as the only conference wrestler to earn the honor three years in a row. Larkin is the program's sixth national champion and just the fourth four-time All-American at ASU.

He also is the eighth Sun Devil to earn the conference award, joining two-time honorees Mike Davies (1987-88 at 190), Dan St. John (1989 at 158 and 19990 at 167) and Ray Miller (1992-93 at 158), and single winners Gary Bohay (1983 at 126), Eddie Urbano (1985 at 150), Adam Cohen (1986 at 150) and Steve Blackford (2000 at 165). Blackford and Larkin combined to win the last four awards handed out from the conference. The only other combination to bring in more awards was when Urbano, Cohen, Davies and St. John were honored in a row starting in 1985 and ending in 1990.

Ortiz capped his second year with the Sun Devils by guiding his team to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships in Kansas City, Mo., and mentoring three All-Americans in Larkin, Curtis Owen (Sr., Coeur D'Alene, Idaho), and Kellan Fluckiger (Sr., Preston, Idaho). His coaching award makes him the third ASU coach to attain the honor, following his collegiate coach Bobby Douglas' eight awards and Lee Roy Smith's four. Ortiz, a three-time All-American and a member of the 1988 Sun Devil national championship team, is a career 21-12 as a head coach in Tempe.

ASU Pac-10 Award Winners
Wrestler of the Year
2003 - Eric Larkin (149)
2002 - Eric Larkin (141)
2001 - Eric Larkin (141)
2000 - Steve Blackford (165)
1993 - Ray Miller (158)
1992 - Ray Miller (158)
1990 - Dan St. John (167)
1989 - Dan St. John (158)
1988 - Mike Davies (190)
1987 - Mike Davies (190)
1986 - Adam Cohen (150)
1985 - Eddie Urbano (150)
1983 - Gary Bohay (126)

Coach of the Year
2003 - Thom Ortiz
2001 - Lee Roy Smith
1998 - Lee Roy Smith
1997 - Lee Roy Smith (shared with T.J. Kerr CSUB)
1993 - Lee Roy Smith
1990 - Bobby Douglas
1989 - Bobby Douglas
1988 - Bobby Douglas
1987 - Bobby Douglas
1986 - Bobby Douglas
1985 - Bobby Douglas
1981 - Bobby Douglas
1979 - Bobby Douglas

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