2009 NCAA champion Mark Ellis joins UTC staff

2009 NCAA champion Mark Ellis joins UTC staff

August 2nd, 2013 by Ward Gossett in Sports - College

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The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling program now has a national champion.

Mocs coach Heath Eslinger announced Thursday that he had added Mark Ellis, a 2009 NCAA champion, to his coaching staff.

“I think Mark is going to be a great addition. He brings a lot of dimensions to the table that we need right now,” Eslinger said. “The foundation is good, but it’s time to put some finishing touches on things. It’s time to have some All-Americans here, and it’s time to have a national champion here, and he can help us get there.”

Ellis can share with the Mocs what he did to become a two-time All-American and a national champion at Missouri.

“There’s no real secret to having success in the sport. You have to put in the time and you have to believe in yourself,” he said. “Everybody goes through patches, some rougher than others, but somebody finally believed in me and I began believing in myself. I want these guys to believe that the goal of being an All-American and winning a national title is attainable.”

In 2009, Ellis posted a 31-3 record, the fifth-best win percentage (.912) in Missouri’s wrestling history. He is sixth on the Tigers’ all-time pins list with 30.

After graduating in 2010, he had a couple of MMA fights before taking an opportunity to return to Mizzou as a volunteer assistant coach.

“I learned a lot from Coach [Brian] Smith, but me coaching under him, maybe there was some redundant stuff. I wanted to branch out, and I like and believe in what they’re doing here,” said Ellis, who worked a couple of Mocs wrestling camps. “The atmosphere seemed like something I wanted to be around, and I felt this was a good opportunity for me to coach and to learn.”

Ellis will replace Rocco Mansueto on the Mocs staff, but the popular Mansueto, who was associate head coach and a member of Eslinger’s staff for four seasons, isn’t leaving. He is changing priorities, moving full-time into a position as director of the UTC wrestling camps.

<em>Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765.</em>