Aug. 24, 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Russ Hellickson, wrestling head coach at Ohio State, announced Tuesday that former NCAA champions Mitch Clark and Tommy Rowlands have been added to the coaching staff for the 2004-05 season. Clark, a volunteer coach for the last six seasons at Ohio State, joins 11-year assistant Ken Ramsey in a full-time capacity. Rowlands, who concluded his collegiate career in March with his second national title and fourth All-America honor, will assume the volunteer position in 2004-05.

“We are excited to add two of the most outstanding wrestlers in Ohio State history to our staff,” Hellickson, who currently is in Athens, Greece serving as the play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the 2004 Olympic Games, said. “We had an outstanding pool of candidates apply for these positions, but in the end their loyalty to the program and the work ethic they personified in their careers were paramount. Mitch and Tommy were greats in their time at OSU and they have been and will be part of a great time at Ohio State. The hires benefit both the program and Mitch and Tommy. It is an immense positive for the wrestlers on the team now and for recruiting in the future.”

In his term as a volunteer assistant, Clark helped the Buckeyes to a pair of Top 6 finishes in the nation, including a tie for third place at the 2004 NCAA championships last March. The former two-time All-American and 1998 national champion at 177 pounds also helped his brother John Clark to his second All-America honor at the 2004 NCAA’s.

“It has been an honor to have the opportunity to coach as a volunteer at Ohio State and for Russ Hellickson,” Clark said. “I had entertained offers elsewhere over the time period, but I am loyal to Ohio State and coach Hellickson. I love working here and working with him. I cannot imagine coaching anywhere else. This is an exciting time for Ohio State. We have had two outstanding recruit classes the last two years and last year’s finish at the national tournament was awesome. Tommy and I bring youthful energy to the program.” M. Clark capped his wrestling career at Ohio State with a 39-1 record and the national crown his senior season, which followed a national runner-up finish his junior campaign. A two-time Big Ten champion, M. Clark ranks 10th in career wins at Ohio State, being passed by John last season. M. Clark hails from Canton, N.Y.

Rowlands, a native of Hilliard, Ohio and a Bishop Ready product, will assume the volunteer position and offer the expertise that allowed him to conclude his career as the most decorated wrestler in Ohio State history. He is just the second Buckeye to win two national titles and the first to earn All-America four times. Rowlands, who narrowly missed a spot on the U.S. Olympic team at 211 pounds in May, is the all-time leader at Ohio State in career wins (164), career team points (702.0) and career takedowns (705). His career record of 164-14 (.921) ranks fourth all-time in winning percentage at OSU, while his 44 wins in 2004 and 43 triumphs in 2001 rank fourth and fifth all-time in a single season.

Rowlands, who has volunteered as an instructor at offseason wrestling camps his entire college career, is thrilled to have the opportunity to stay involved with the program he helped carry to national prominence.

“I’m excited to become a member of the staff and help Ohio State win a national championship,” Rowlands said. “That is what we are going to aim for. I am happy to have the opportunity to continue working with Russ Hellickson. He is a tremendous coach, a great friend and a legend in the sport. Also, he is going to allow me to continue to pursue my dream of becoming an Olympian in 2008 while serving as a coach. I am grateful for that. I am thrilled to remain in this program and plan to be here for many years to come.”

Ohio State opens the 2004-05 season Nov. 13 in Brockport, N.Y. for the Oklahoma Gold Classic. The Buckeyes’ first home date is a tri-meet Dec. 18 with Missouri and Virginia Tech in St. John Arena.