Mark Ellis, 2009 NCAA Division I heavyweight champ at University of Missouri, has joined the coaching staff at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga wrestling program, head coach Heath Eslinger announced Thursday.
Ellis, 26, had been a volunteer assistant coach at Missouri since May 2012.
The former Mizzou Tiger wrestler/coach replaces associate head coach Rocco Mansueto, who, according to the official UTC wrestling website, “has stepped aside to pursue other interests, but will still oversee the UTC Wrestling Camps.” Mansueto had been on the Mocs coaching staff for the past four years.
Ellis claimed the heavyweight title as a junior at the 2009 NCAAs, defeating Duke University’s Konrad Dudziak, 3-2 TB 2 in the finals to become only the second wrestler in Mizzou history to win a national title. (The first was Ben Askren, two-time NCAA champ, now Bellator Fighting Championships welterweight titleholder, who was Ellis’ roommate in college.) The following year, Ellis earned All-American honors for the second time by placing sixth in the 285-pound bracket at the 2010 NCAAs.
In addition to winning the heavyweight crown in 2009, Ellis built a 31-3 record that year for a .912 winning percentage, fifth-best single-season record in the program’s history. That year, he was also named Missouri’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.
A native of Peculiar, Mo., the 6′ 2″, 247-pound Ellis compiled a 90-39 record at Missouri. He scored 30 falls as a Tiger, ranking him sixth in terms of career pins. In addition, Ellis was a 2009 Big 12 conference finalist. Ellis also captured the Ed Lampitt Award in 2010.
Beyond his wrestling and coaching career at Missouri, Ellis has also competed in mixed martial arts (MMA), with two professional fights in the ProElite promotion in 2011.
“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.”
“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.”
As a two-time All-American and NCAA champ himself, Ellis welcomes the challenge.
“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.”
See photos of Mark Ellis’ college wrestling and MMA careers — along with pics of other heavyweight titlewinners since 2001 — at NCAA Heavyweight Champs 2 Yahoo group.
How heavy are NCAA heavyweight champs? See the actual weights for some of the best big men in college wrestling since 1928 in a special College Wrestling Examiner “College Wrestling 101” feature.
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