UCO wrestling coach James’ 34-year tenure comes to an end

From UCO Sports Info.
Mike Kirk, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations

EDMOND – The University of Central Oklahoma announced Friday that David James will not return next season as Central Oklahoma’s head wrestling coach.

“I want to thank Coach James for his extraordinary contributions to the University of Central Oklahoma,” UCO athletic director Joe Muller said.  “At UCO, we always expect to compete at a very high level and after evaluating our program over the past several weeks, I feel that it’s necessary to move in a different direction.”

The university has offered James another position in the athletic department, but he has yet to make a decision on whether he will stay at UCO.

“It has been a tremendous honor to be the UCO wrestling coach for such a long time,” said the 58-year-old James.  “I want to thank all the wrestlers who I have been associated with for 34 years and greatly appreciate all the relationships and friendships that I have with all the wrestlers in the program. UCO is a special place to me and always will be.

“I would also like to thank the many people associated with the university and the athletic department for all their support all of these years. And certainly I want to thank my wife (Cherrie) and daughters (Hayden and Ryann) for their support and love throughout my career.

“UCO is a special place to me and always will be.”

James led the Bronchos to 12 national championships – seven in NCAA Division II, five in NAIA – and a 396-144-5 dual record that ranks in the top 30 for career wins on all collegiate levels during his 34 years at the helm.

He coached 48 individual national champions and 182 All-Americans, including a pair of rare four-time champions in Johnny Nimmo (1987-90) and Cole Province (2000-03).

A prep standout at Del City High School, James became UCO’s first-ever four-time All-American and was a two-time national champion from 1977-80, finishing with a 116-16 career record.

James spent the 1980-81 season as a graduate assistant for the Bronchos before spending one year as assistant coach at Edmond Memorial High School.  He returned to UCO in 1982 to take over the head coaching reigns.

The search for James’ replacement will begin immediately.

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