George Mason announces hiring of Russell as coach

Courtesy of George Mason University Sports Information

FAIRFAX, VA — George Mason assistant vice president/director of athletics Tom O’Connor announced that Joe Russell has been hired as the Patriots head wrestling coach. Russell leaves one of the nation’s top wrestling programs at Minnesota to become the ninth head coach in Mason history, entering its 40th season.

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Gophers add five to 2011 signing class

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota head wrestling coach J Robinson and the Gophers program have announced that five prep competitors have signed Acceptance of Admission forms and will join the 2011-12 Minnesota wrestling squad. New to the Gophers lineup next season will be Brenton Beard, Alex Daugherty, Tony Morrow, Zach Stepan and Jon Volp.

“These guys have worked hard to achieve their goals as student-athletes at the University of Minnesota. In turn, we have pledged to help them develop the skills to be successful at the college level,” head assistant coach Joe Russell said. “We are excited to have them join our program.”

A native of Elk, Wash., Beard twice placed at the state tournament while competing for Riverside High School including taking third-place honors as a senior. The Minnesota newcomer was crowned the Northwest Regional Freestyle champion while also earning all-state academic honors. Beard is expected to wrestle at 141 lbs. for the Gophers.

A two-time captain on the Central Valley High School wrestling team, Daugherty is expected to wrestle at 285 lbs. when he joins the Gophers program. A native of Monaca, Pa., Daugherty was the 2011 MAC Tournament runner-up as well as the runner-up at the 2011 section tournament.

One of three Minnesotans to sign an Acceptance of Admission form, Morrow ended his prep career with a second-place finish in 2011 – his second time placing at the state tournament. A member of the all-state academic team, Morrow was a two-time section champion and was named Kasson-Mantorville High School’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2011. The Kasson, Minn., native is expected to wrestle at 125 lbs. for Minnesota.

A native of Zimmerman, Minn., Stepan finished his prep career with 132 career wins.  The freshman to-be concluded his high school career with a second-place finish at the 2011 state tournament – notching his third appearance at the event. Stepan is expected to compete at 133 lbs. for the Gophers.

A graduate of Osseo High School, Volp was the 2011 section champion and earned all-conference honors as a senior. A two-time team captain, Volp placed fifth at the state freestyle tournament. The Maple Grove, Minn., native is expected to compete at 197 lbs. for Minnesota.

With the addition of Beard, Daugherty, Morrow, Stepan and Volp, the Minnesota signing class now sits at nine student-athletes. Four wrestlers – Brad Dolezal, Steve Keogh, Jordan Kingsley and Logan Storley – signed National Letters of Intent last fall.