ZEKE JONES SELECTED FOR
2004 OLYMPIC COACHING POSITION
Colorado Springs, Colo. (December 1,2003) - USA Wrestling has named West
Virginia assistant wrestling coach Zeke Jones to the Olympic Freestyle wrestling coaching staff
for the 2004 United Stales Olympic team that will participate in Athens, Greece.
Selected to join USA Wrestling National Freestyle coach Kevin Jackson of Colorado Springs, Colo., as Olympic Coaches in freestyle wrestling are Tom Brands of Iowa City, Iowa, and Zeke Jones of Morgantown, W.Va. This selection has been forwarded for final approval from the U.S. Olympic Committee.
"It is truly an honor to represent our country and represent the Olympic freestyle wrestling team,” says Jones. “It is a responsibility to lead this team, and I look forward to that responsibility.”
Jones was the Assistant Coach for the 2001 U.S. Freestyle World Team. After the attack of September 11, the World Championships were moved from New York to Bulgaria, and Jones assumed additional responsibility, serving as head coach of the team, which placed fifth. Jones was head coach of the 2003 Pan American Games Team, which won the team title. He was also on the U.S. coaching staff for the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games.
Brands served as the Assistant Coach of the 2003 U.S. Freestyle World Team, which placed second in the World Championships. He was also the Assistant Coach of the 2002 U.S. Freestyle World Team, which did not compete in the World Championships in Iran due to a threat of violence. Brands works as an assistant wrestling coach at the University of Iowa.
Jackson has been the National Freestyle Coach for USA Wrestling since January of 2001, serving as the full-time professional coach working with the national freestyle wrestling program. The United States placed second in the 2003 World Championships and fifth in the 2001 World Championships under Jackson's leadership. Jackson previously worked as the Freestyle Resident Coach for USA Wrestling from June 1998 through January 2001, coaching the athletes at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
All three Olympic Coaches were teammates on the only U.S. Men's Freestyle World Teams to win the World Team Title, the champion 1993 U.S. World Team in Toronto, Canada, and the champion 1995 U.S. World Team in Atlanta, Ga.
“Our main focus will be preparation,” adds Jones. “We will focus on each athlete becoming an Olympic champion, and trying to develop seven Olympic champions. I have talked to Kevin and Tom, and that process has already begun. It is a great opportunity and I look forward to it."
The two volunteer coaches selected as Olympic Coaches came from a group of five finalists. Brands and Jones were selected by the USA Wrestling Freestyle Coach Selection Committee, then approved by the USA Wrestling Executive Committee. All of the finalists were interviewed by the Freestyle Coach Selection Committee.
The other volunteer coaches who were finalists for the positions were Bruce Burnett of Annapolis, Md.; Bobby Douglas of Ames, Iowa; and Mark Manning of Lincoln, Neb.
USA Wrestling will add one more official volunteer coach to the freestyle coaching staff at a later date.