Bakersfield, California – CSU Bakersfield, Director of Athletics and AVP for Student Affairs, Dr. Kenneth ‘Ziggy’ Siegfried, announced the hiring of Luke Smith as the department’s head wrestling coach. Smith was the program’s interim head coach for a shortened 2020-21 season and was the Roadrunner’s senior assistant under Manny Rivera for two seasons. “Luke did an excellent job guiding our wrestling student-athletes through a turbulent season,” said Siegfried. “Despite adverse circumstances, the team remained academically and within the CSUB community committed and competed at a high level both at the Pac-12 conference and at the national level. Luke is a great leader and role model for our student athletes, who is highly valued in the wrestling community and who firmly believes in the tradition and character of CSUB wrestling. “
Chance Rich, Angelo Martinoni, and Dominic Ducharme all made it through to the 2021 NCAA championship tournament under Smith’s guidance when the Runners sent a wrestler to the National Event for the 47th straight. Rich won three times in St. Louis, finishing just one win behind All-American Honors in the 133 pound weight class. Ducharme earned his bid for the tournament by winning the Pac-12 championship with 184 pounds. Rich was runner-up at the conference with £ 133 while Martinoni was third in the £ 141 class. “I have been impressed with Luke’s leadership this season in unimaginable circumstances,” said Karen Langston, senior associate AD for external affairs and capital projects.
. “He has more than proven himself in our wrestling team for over three years, especially last year as interim head coach. Well respected across the country, Luke will no doubt build on the storied culture and success our wrestling program has enjoyed throughout its history. I am very happy that the interim tag has been removed from his title and that he can take over the reins of CSUB Wrestling. ”
Prior to CSUB, Smith trained seven seasons in Eastern Michigan, including the last three as top assistant on the program. In his final season at WWU, he had a school record of five national qualifiers and the program’s first All-American since 1999. Smith also coached two seasons at Old Dominion after starting his coaching career with a single season on the staff of his alma mater Central Michigan.
“I would like to thank Dr. Siegfried, Karen Langston, and the entire Search Committee for believing in my ability to lead the wrestling program at CSUB,” said Smith. “I would also like to thank my family for their support and all the coaches and athletes who have given me the opportunity to do what I love over the past 13 seasons. I look forward to continuing the rich tradition and culture of CSUB wrestling and working with our athletes day in and day out to represent a Bakersfield community that means so much to our program. ”
Smith was a four-time NCAA student athlete qualifier for the Chippewas and finished fourth in the country in his senior season at £ 125, giving the CMU a # 2 national ranking. Smith was named Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year in 2005 and holds the record for the two fastest pins in CMU history with 0:11 and 0:13 seconds, respectively. He graduated from Central Michigan in 2008 with a degree in Sports Management and Coaching. Smith also has two top five finishes in the United States Team Trials and was a two-time Wisconsin State Champion as a preparatory athlete.
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