The Times West Virginian

Sports

June 25, 2014

WVU adds Heskett to staff

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University has hired Joe Heskett as Associate Athletic Director for Sports Performance.

Heskett, a 2001 graduate of Iowa State, comes to West Virginia from Army, where he served as head coach of the Black Knights’ wrestling program for the past four seasons. At WVU, he will oversee athletic training and strength and conditioning, and will serve as the sport administrator for rowing.

He will also be athletics’ liaison to WELLWVU, the Student’s Center of Health within the Division of Student Affairs at the University, and will work closely with the student-athlete life enhancement program and the student-athlete advisory committee.

“Joe will be an outstanding addition to our athletic staff, and I think this is the perfect opportunity for him as he transitions from coaching to administration,” Athletic Director Oliver Luck said. “He was very impressive as one of our interview candidates for our head wrestling coach position, and with our overall increase in support for our student-athletes, Joe will provide key insight in the areas of academics, student health and welfare as well as career transitioning. I believe our student-athletes will benefit immensely from someone of Joe’s talent and skill set.”

During Heskett’s time at Army, the Black Knights qualified four wrestlers in 2012-13 and three in 2013-14 for the NCAA tournament. Last season, Army finished with an 8-4 overall record, including a 7-4 mark in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA). Army defeated No. 24-ranked Iowa State, 23-22, and also placed first at the New York State Championships.

Heskett began his coaching career at Cal Poly, where he was the head assistant wrestling coach and also earned his master’s degree with honors in educational leadership with an emphasis in athletic administration. He assisted in all facets of the program, including fundraising, and helped the Mustangs to their highest NCAA placement in nearly 20 years.

He then became an assistant coach at Ohio State, where he helped the Buckeyes to four top-10 team finishes at the NCAA Tournament, two of which were NCAA runner up finishes, three NCAA champions and 15 All-Americans. He played a large role in securing the nation’s top recruiting class in 2006 and helped sign a host of top prospects.

“My goal is to be a Division I athletic director, and to learn and work with Oliver Luck is an opportunity I could not pass up,” Heskett said. “It will be a seamless transition for me coming from one of the best leadership academies in the world to working at West Virginia University with President E. Gordon Gee and Director Luck.”

At Iowa State, Heskett won the 165-pound national championship in 2002 and was the eighth four-time All-American for the Cyclones. He graduated with a degree in speech communications and posted a career record of 143-9.

He was a three-time national finalist, finishing third as a freshman, followed by two overtime loses in the finals, but prevailed by earning the national championship during his senior campaign. Heskett captured three Big 12 Championships, won the prestigious Midlands event on three occasions and graduated third on Iowa State’s all-time wins list.

Following his decorated collegiate career, Heskett earned a spot on the 2007 U.S. World Team after winning the U.S. Nationals and U.S. World Team Trials. Heskett is a five-time U.S. National Team Member and he represented the United States at the ’07 World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, with a fifth-place finish. He dropped a tough, three-period battle with a two-time world champion from Russia in the semifinals before wrestling back to finish fifth. He was one of five United States wrestlers to qualify at his weight for the Olympics. Earlier that summer, he won a silver medal at 163 pounds at the 2007 Pan American Games.

Leadership and leadership training are passions of Heskett’s. He was Iowa State’s representative at the NCAA Leadership Conference, a board member of the Children’s Body Image, a former member of the Major Ray Mendoza Leadership Fund and an Ambassador and Public Awareness Speaker for the Ohio State Medical Center. He is the founder and Chief Visionary Officer for h Leadership (founded in 2009), a visionary leadership company dedicated to revolutionizing sport through leadership and life skill education.

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WVU’s new wrestling coach Sammie Henson has hired of Nicholas Marable and will retain former Craig Turnbull assistant Danny Felix to complete his staff.

Marable comes to Morgantown after spending the 2013-14 season as the volunteer assistant coach at Missouri, lending a hand in the Tigers’ 14th-place finish at the NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City and helping two Missouri Tigers earn All-America honors, including true freshman J’den Cox claiming the National Championship at 197 pounds. Prior to his time as volunteer assistant, Marable spent three years as the assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Tigers’ wrestlers.

Marable currently wrestles with the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club and will continue to do so while in Morgantown. A two-time All-American at 165 pounds for Missouri, Marable was a three-time NCAA qualifier and wrestled to a third-place finish at the 2008 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. As a senior, he posted a 35-5 record, which included a 13-1 dual mark, and became the 17th Missouri wrestler in program history to join the elite 100-win club.

Winner of three consecutive Big 12 titles, Marable finished his career with 116 wins, the eighth-most in Missouri history, and was awarded Missouri’s Hap Whitney Coaches Award honor in 2007, as well as Most Improved Wrestler accolades in 2008.

“I’m very grateful and blessed to continue my coaching career at West Virginia University. My family and I could not be more excited to stay connected with the Morgantown community and stay a part of Mountaineer Nation,” Felix said.

In 2009, Felix was a member of the U.S. World Team. He was one of seven freestyle wrestlers to earn a spot on the team, and Felix competed in Herning, Denmark, at the 2009 World Wrestling Championships.

In early 2008 in the professional ranks, Felix garnered the Bronze medal at the 2008 U.S. Open. A year prior, he wrestled in the 121-pound class at the New York Athletic Club Holiday International Wrestling Championships and finished with a silver medal. That same year, he was crowned the 2007 Sunkist International Champion.

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West Virginia University junior Garrett Spurgeon won his third straight junior men’s 50m 3 positions gold medal at the 2014 USA Shooting National Championships, held at the shooting range of the United States Army Marksmanship Unit in Fort Benning, Georgia.

The Canton, Missouri, native finished with a two-day total of 2339, shooting 1164 on Monday and 1161 on Tuesday. He placed second in both days’ finals (443.8, 446.4), earning 14 points toward his total score.

Junior Patrick Sunderman finished 10th in the junior men’s 50m 3 positions with a two-day total of 2289.

Redshirt-sophomore Jean-Pierre Lucas finished 12th in the discipline with a two-day aggregate score of 2287.

Spurgeon placed sixth in the open competition with a 2329 score.

Of note, recent WVU graduate Chance Cover placed third in the men’s 50m 3 positions High A division and 19th overall with a 2299 two-day total, and 2010 Mountaineer graduate Bryant Wallizer placed 12th with a two-day total of 2311 (1154, 1157).

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