UTC Mocs' Jon Sioredas is new Grand Canyon head coach

UTC Mocs' Jon Sioredas is new Grand Canyon head coach

August 20th, 2014 by Ward Gossett in Sports - College

UTC coach Jon Sioredas yells to Moc Nick Soto as he takes on Oklahoma State's Brian Crutchmer during the Southern Scuffle NCAA wrestling tournament at McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014.

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

When Heath Eslinger interviewed for the head coaching job at Purdue, his top assistant in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling program began getting his resume in order.

Although Eslinger declined to move to the Big Ten school, Jon Sioredas had decided he wanted to pursue a Division I head coaching job.

He landed one, being named head coach at Grand Canyon University, a private Christian school in Phoenix that boasts a fully funded athletic program.

"It's a new program. They started wrestling in 2008 as a [NCAA] Division II member. As of last year they're transitioning to Division I," Sioredas said. "My goal was to be a Division I head coach. I will miss the relationships I've built with the [UTC] kids, with Heath and with the coaching staff and wrestling family here, but this is what I have chosen to do and it's part of the journey."

A finalist also for the head coaching job at Northern Colorado, Sioredas replaces R.C. LaHaye.

After a whirlwind week of doctor appointments, getting his house on the market and a myriad of other moving tasks, Sioredas is leaving Friday and plans to meet with the GCU wrestling team Sunday afternoon.

"They've been without a coach for a month, and I'm anxious to assess where we are and show them my plan of action," he said.

The former Moc All-American said his wife and 3-year-old son will fly out to join him next week.

"Jon has made a major contribution to the program," Eslinger said. "He bought into our philosophy of raising up people, not just athletes. He's done a great job with our guys from a development standpoint. He has done everything that was asked of him, and I think that's why he's getting a head coaching opportunity."

Eslinger is in no rush to hire a replacement, although the Mocs begin early workouts Monday.

"Yes, it's late, but I don't want to rush into anything," he said. "We'll be fine. We have a very mature team, and that's a good thing."

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.