Oklahoma State's John Smith retires after decorated 33-year career as wrestling coach

Published Apr. 11, 2024 5:02 p.m. ET

STILLWATER, Oklahoma (AP) — Oklahoma State wrestling coach John Smith announced his retirement Thursday, ending a 33-year run that produced five NCAA team championships, 33 individual NCAA champions and 23 conference titles.

The 58-year-old Smith compiled a 490-73-6 dual record and had 153 All Americans with the Cowboys.

“It has been an honor to coach for more than 32 years at the same institution,” Smith said. “I can’t even begin to tell you what Oklahoma State has done for me, my wife, my immediate family and brothers and sisters who all graduated from OSU. My journey started at age 17 here at Oklahoma State and it has allowed me to accomplish everything I ever wanted.”

Before entering coaching, Smith had a distinguished career as a wrestler, winning six consecutive world championships as a competitor from 1987-92, including gold medals at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. A three-time All American with the Cowboys, he became the first wrestler to win the James E. Sullivan Award as the nation’s top amateur athlete in 1990.


Smith also coached Team USA at the Olympics in 2000 and 2012, at the World Championships in 1998, 2009, 2010 and 2011 and at the World Cup in 1997. He coached the USA Women’s Cadet World Team in 2018 and is a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, a two-time selection as the National Wrestling Coaches Association coach of the year and a 15-time selection as conference coach of the year.

The school named Coleman Scott interim coach.


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