By Chris Day
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Oklahoma State’s wrestling team needs two dual wins to hit 1,000 victories – another milestone for the Cowboys to catch and surpass this year.
The Cowboys have compiled a 998-113-22 dual record since OSU started its collegiate wrestling program in 1914.
The Cowboys could hit 1,000 dual victories this month. The Pokes host Iowa at 2 p.m. Sunday and travel to Iowa State for a 2 p.m. dual on Jan. 23.
The Pokes host Northern Colorado at 7 p.m. Jan. 28 and North Carolina State at 2 p.m. Jan. 30.
OSU wrestling coach John Smith reached and continued the climb past the 300 dual victory plateau last week. Smith got his 300th dual win with a 40-4 victory over Arizona State on Jan. 2.
Smith’s record as OSU’s wrestling coach is 303-46-5 after going 3-2 in the National Duals on Saturday and Sunday.
He compiled a 154-7-2 record as an OSU wrestler. Those OSU teams compiled a 60-12-2 record. As a wrestler and coach Smith had a role in more than a third of OSU’s dual victories.
Smith wrestled at OSU from 1984-1988, claiming two NCAA championships. Smith and another former OSU wrestler Kenny Monday were co-head coaches at OSU in 1992. Smith coached solo in 1993 and thereafter.
The Cowboys dual record was 4-7-0 in 1993. It was Smith’s only losing season as OSU’s wrestling coach.
Smith’s teams claimed NCAA championships in 1995, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. He has coached 23 NCAA individual champions and 89 NCAA All-Americans.
Smith talks about his 300th victory and his coaching career.
What does 300 victories mean to you?
“I didn’t really think a lot about it. I don’t know if it’s a lot or not tell you the truth. I haven’t looked at other records. I’ve been fortunate – a lot of good athletes, good staff and an administrations that’s allowed me to try to be successful.”
Did you hear from any of your former wrestlers or colleagues?
“I didn’t realize it was No. 300 until after the Arizona State match. I went to get my cell phone and I had about 200 text messages congratulating me. So, I knew I did something right.”
Any of the congratulatory messages stand out?
“I had a lot of text messages from athletes that wanted to congratulate me. They were the ones that were part of it. Those were the ones I really enjoyed reading.”
You’ve been a champion as a wrestler and as a coach. Few people are champions as players and coaches. What’s the secret to your success?
“Coaching and wrestling in college is very tough. It takes a grinding mentality. You probably have only a handful of coaches that have coached 300 or more dual meet victories. ... I’ve been through a couple of issues that could definitely turn your passion into another direction. I stuck it out and through that grind I’ve learned a lot. I have to say I’ve enjoyed it. Even though it’s grinding at times, long hours and long weekends, it sure has been good for me and my family.”