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Pitt wrestling coach Stottlemyer retires after 34 seasons

| Monday, April 8, 2013, 7:18 p.m.

Longtime Pitt wrestling coach Rande Stottlemyer retired Monday and turned the program over to 10-year assistant Jason Peters, his handpicked successor.

A three-time All-American wrestler for Pitt who became coach in 1979, the 58-year-old Stottlemyer strongly hinted during the NCAA championships in Iowa last month that he would not return for his 35th season.

“You know when it's time to get out, and it was time,” he said Monday. “Something inside your gut tells you it's time to go.”

Stottlemyer's 34 years makes him the third-longest tenured coach in Pitt athletics history behind former men's and women's tennis coach George Dieffenbach (38 years) and former baseball coach Bobby Lewis (36 years).

Peters was designated as head-coach-in-waiting last fall. A 1998 graduate of East Stroudsburg, he will become the 10th wrestling coach in Pitt history. Matt Kocher will move up to the top assistant's post.

“I have great assistant coaches: Jason, and Matt,” Stottlemyer said. “These guys have been the nuts and bolts. They've done an unbelievable job of coaching guys up and recruiting. ... It's a young guy's game, recruiting. And we've had two good recruiters.”

Pitt went 304-230-12 under Stottlemyer, and the past four seasons were among the best. In 2012, Pitt broke into the national top 10 for the first time since 1963. The Panthers won three straight Eastern Wrestling League dual meet championships from 2010-12 and three successive EWL team tournament championships from 2011-13.

Stottlemyer produced 56 individual EWL champions, 33 All-Americans and three national champions.

Stottlemyer will remain in the athletic department as a consultant to Pitt's 16 Olympic sports programs making the transition to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“We'll figure out what all that means in the next few weeks, months, whatever,” he said. “But I'm looking forward to it.”

Bob Cohn is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bcohn@tribweb.com or via Twitter@BCohn_Trib.

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