Aug. 15, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Steelwood Athletic Training Facility, practice site for the Ohio State wrestling team, will also serve as the home of The Buckeye Wrestling Club, an Ohio Regional Olympic Training Center.

The mission of The Buckeye Wrestling Club includes producing various levels of champions, from the Ohio state high school tournament to national, world and Olympic level events. It is the goal of the center to fund an Olympic hopeful at each of the seven weight classes in freestyle competition within the next three years. Additionally, The Buckeye Wrestling Club seeks to expand the community support for the Ohio State wrestling program in its goal of winning a NCAA championship.

Head coach of The Buckeye Wrestling Club is Jim Humphrey, who has an extensive wrestling background that includes head coaching duties for the U.S. Olympic and World and Canadian Olympic and World teams. A 1972 Big Ten individual champion and NCAA All-American at Ohio State, Humphrey also was a World Silver Medalist, a five-time U.S. Open champion (two Most Outstanding Wrestling honors) and a four-time World Team member. Humphrey went on to coach at Indiana University and later was inducted into the state of Indiana Hall of Fame. Humphrey also is a member of the Ohio State and the state of Ohio halls of fame.

“As a former two-time head Olympic coach, it is my goal to create a dynamic environment where The Buckeye Wrestling Club members can strive to reach their international goals and OSU wrestlers can succeed in the efforts to be NCAA champions individually and as a team,” Humphrey said. “I am confident my experience coaching the likes of Olympic, world and NCAA champions Dave Schultz, John Smith and Kenny Monday will enhance The Buckeye Wrestling Club members’ efforts to achieve athletic excellence.”

2006 U.S. World Team head coach Lou Rosselli also will serve as one of six coaches of The Buckeye Wrestling Club. Rosselli’s resume includes serving as a U.S. head coach for the 2005 World University Games and the Women’s World Cup. As an assistant coach at Edinboro for nine seasons, Rosselli coached 17 All-Americans. Competitively, Rosselli was a 1996 U.S. Olympian, 1997 World Cup champion, three-time U.S. Open champion (1995-1999) and two-time NCAA All-American at Edinboro (1991, 1993). OSU assistant coach Tommy Rowlands and volunteer assistant coach Joe Heskett currently are training at the center in The Ohio State Wrestling Room as 2008 Beijing Olympic Games hopefuls in addition to fulfilling their commitment to The Buckeye Wrestling Club as staff members.

“As an Ohio native and an alumnus of The Ohio State University, I am excited to be in an environment that is conducive to being an Olympic champion in Columbus, Ohio,” Rowlands said. “It is my obligation and my duty to fulfill my dream and help the OSU wrestling team reach its potential as NCAA champions.”

Rowlands epitomizes the center’s objective of producing champions at all levels by succeeding at the high school, collegiate, national and international stages, including most recently becoming the 2005 World University Games Champion and Pan-American Games silver medalist. A letterwinner at Ohio State from 2001-2004, Rowlands was a two-time NCAA champion and a four-time All-American. At Bishop Ready High School, Rowlands was a two-time Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) state champion.

A native of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, who attended Walsh Jesuit High School, Heskett, returns to the state of Ohio after attending Iowa State (1999-2002), where he was a 2002 NCAA champion and a four-time All-American. Heskett’s international and national experience includes being named an alternate to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and two University National Freestyle championships. At Walsh Jesuit, Heskett was a three-time OHSAA state champion.

“I am back in the greatest wrestling state in the country,” Heskett said. “It is great to be home. I have been searching for an environment where I can grow as a coach and have the opportunity to coach a winning team and become an Olympian.”

The training center also will maintain outreach and community initiatives to serve the Central Ohio area, as well as a Kids Club, which provides club practices and clinics throughout the year.

“We want to surround kids in the local community around Olympic hopefuls while training in the OSU wrestling room, which is considered one of the best facilities in the country,” Ross Thatcher, the Ohio State wrestling team’s director of operations, said.

A NCAA All-American at Penn State (1998-2000), Thatcher was an assistant coach for PSU and served as the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club coach before joining OSU and The Buckeye Wrestling Club. His additional coaching duties include the 2006 Junior Fila World Team and the Ohio International Wrestling Club. Internationally, Thatcher was a Bronze medalist at the Pan-American games for the U.S. squad and a World University Games Freestyle team member.

Also a part of The Buckeye Wrestling Club staff is Jim Edwards. A two-time OHSAA state champion and NCAA All-American at Louisiana State University, Edwards was an Ohio International Wrestling Club Coach. Edwards also mentored Rowlands at the high school level.

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