University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling head coach Heath Eslinger named Mark Ellis assistant coach today. Ellis is a two-time All-American and the 2009 NCAA Champion as a heavyweight at Missouri.
“We have made some changes in our staff that we are very excited about,” stated Eslinger. “Mark Ellis will join us this year and I really think he is going to be a great addition. He brings a lot of dimensions to the table that we need right now.”
Ellis claimed the National Championship in 2009 to become the second wrestler at Missouri to win a title. He entered the tournament as the weight class's No. 2 seed and earned five wins over ranked wrestlers at the tournament, closing things out with a 3-2 win over No. 5 Konrad Dudziak (Duke) in tiebreakers. Ellis became a two-time All-American the following year when he finished sixth.
“It is a good atmosphere here, from the top down,” stated Ellis. “The kids enjoy being here and I want to see if we can get someone to win a national championship here.”
Ellis finished his National Championship campaign with a 31-3 record, the fifth-best winning percentage (.912) in a single season in program history. He closed out his Tiger career with a 90-39 record and was the program's Most Outstanding Wrestler in 2009. He and captured the Ed Lampitt Award in 2010 and currently ranks sixth all-time in career falls, pinning 30 opponents in his career.
Associate head coach Rocco Mansueto has stepped aside to pursue other interests, but will still oversee the UTC Wrestling Camps. Mansueto was a part of Esligner’s staff for the past four years. Ellis competed in mixed-martial arts following his graduation from Missouri in 2010, and was a volunteer assistant coach for the Tigers last season.
“I feel like the foundation is good, but it is time to put some finishing touches on things,” added Eslinger. “I think he is a guy who can come in and help our student-athletes do that. It is time to have some All-Americans here and it is time to have a national champion here and he can help us get there.”