Matt Eldredge takes over from Tommy Prairie
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Plymouth State University will have a new head wrestling coach in 2011-12 following the resignation of current head coach Tommy Prairie to become the full-time head coach at Washington & Jefferson College in Western Pennsylvania.
Matt Eldredge has been named the new head wrestling coach at PSU, effective immediately. Eldredge, who has been a Panther assistant coach under Prairie the past two seasons, is a former standout wrestler and assistant coach at the State University of New York at Cortland.
"I am extremely honored to be named the 14th head wrestling coach in Plymouth State history," said Eldredge. "The opportunity that lies before me is an exciting one and I look forward to the challenge of keeping up the high academic and athletic success that Coach Prairie has brought to the program. I would like to thank the PSU Athletics Administration for having faith in my abilities to lead our team into the future, and to Jim Aguiar for agreeing to stay on as an assistant coach."
A native on Canandaigua, N.Y., Eldredge was a four-year wrestler at 197 pounds and heavyweight for the nationally-ranked Cortland program, where his 24 pins rank ninth in the program's history. He also served one season as an assistant coach before graduating in 2008 with a degree in physics. He has been a Panther assistant coach since 2009 and also the assistant director of the PSU Summer Wrestling Camp.
PSU Director of Athletics John Clark has mixed emotions about the announcement of a new wrestling coach.
"We are excited to name Matt Eldredge as our new wrestling coach," said Clark. "He has shown in his two years here that he is ready to take over the program. We have full confidence in Matt and look forward to working with him as he begins his head coaching career. We are also very excited for Tommy as he moves into a great situation at Washington & Jefferson. He did a fantastic job here and we know he will do the same there. He will be sorely missed here and everyone in the Plymouth State family wishes him nothing but the best."
Prairie enjoyed a successful four-year stint as Plymouth State's wrestling coach. The Panthers placed second at the New England Dual Meet Championships in 2011, their highest finish ever, and tied for fourth at the New England Championships, the best place since 2003. PSU had one wrestler capture the New England championship and advance to the NCAA Division III National Championships in 2011, and eight Panthers earned All-New England honors, the most in the program's history. PSU earned its first national ranking on the mat in 15 years, and was ranked in the top 30 in the NCAA for grade point average for the second year in a row.
"I really enjoyed my time in Plymouth," said Prairie, who was a three-time First Team All-America wrestler at Williams College before coming to PSU. "We accomplished a lot in these four years and I cannot say enough good things about the athletic administration, alumni and my student-athletes. Plymouth State Wrestling is on the rise and I expect there to be a very smooth transition as Matt takes over. I look forward to watching Plymouth State's success in the future."
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