OREM, Utah - Utah Valley University wrestling and head coach Greg Williams have announced the hiring of world bronze medalist and Orem resident Justin Ruiz to an assistant coaching position. Ruiz comes to UVU on the heels of a long, decorated wrestling career that featured a bronze medal at the 2005 World Championships.
Ruiz is familiar with Williams as he was one of Williams' pupils at the club level during high school. This is also the second time Ruiz has joined Williams' staff as he previously coached at UVU for a short time during the 2007-08 season. That year Ruiz left to continue his distinguished wrestling career, but this time the three-time Utah State Champion at Taylorsville High School (Taylorsville, Utah) returns to Orem after recently retiring from competition.
"I've spent the majority of my life in wrestling and I'm looking forward to turning my attention to coaching full-time," Ruiz said. "I'm excited to be able to help these student-athletes go as far as they can in the sport of wrestling, especially here in the state of Utah and here at UVU."
Williams had nothing but good things to say about Ruiz. "We're really excited to be bringing Justin onto the staff," Williams said. "He's accomplished so many accolades during his career and he will be a great positive influence for all of the wrestlers in our program. I coached Justin at my club when he was in high school so I know what kind of work ethic he has and we're looking forward to what he can help us accomplish here."
Besides winning three state titles at Taylorsville High, Ruiz was also a three-time ASICS Junior National Champion, a three-time Fila Junior Nationals Champion and a High School National Champion. He also was a member of the Fila Junior World Team two times and the recipient of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award in 1998.
After high school, he redshirted a year at the University of Nebraska before serving an LDS mission in Concepcion, Chile. Upon returning from his mission, he spent the next two seasons as an All-American wrestler at Nebraska. Ruiz then made the transition to the international ranks, where he went on to become a seven-time U.S. Open National Champion, six-time U.S. World Team member, 10-time U.S. National Team member, two-time Olympic alternate, two-time US Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Year, four-time Pan American Champion, a World Cup Silver Medalist and a member of the first and only U.S. Greco-Roman Team to win a World Championship (2007).
Williams, Ruiz and Erkin Tadzhimetov will make up the 2012-13 Wolverine wrestling coaching staff.
"I've known Greg for a long time and I'm excited for the opportunity to be able to work together with him as well as Erkin," Ruiz added. "I also know the benefits of Greg's system because it worked for me and that's something that I can show the guys."
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.