Rande Stottlemyer is the winningest coach in Pitt wrestling history (Photo/Pitt Sports Information)Stottlemyer's name is synonymous with Pitt wrestling as his involvement with the program spans nearly four decades. He was a three-time All-American for the Panthers from 1974-78. Following his graduation from the University in 1978, Stottlemyer served Pitt as an assistant coach for one year before taking over as head coach in 1979. Leading the program the past 34 seasons, he compiled a 304-230-12 record and is the winningest coach in Pitt wrestling history.
The past four seasons were among the Panthers' most impressive under Stottlemyer's watch. Since 2010, Pitt has won three Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) regular-season championships and three EWL Tournament titles. Pitt finished 15th nationally in 2012 and 2013.
For his career, Stottlemyer produced 56 EWL individual champions, 33 All-Americans and three national champions. He also was selected the EWL Coach of the Year five times.
"I would like to thank the University of Pittsburgh for the great opportunity they gave me as a young man, fresh out of college," Stottlemyer said. "I have been blessed to have lived my passion for thirty-five years. I hope in that time I have been able to make a positive impact on a lot of young men's lives. It has been an honor to be their coach and to promote the great sport of wrestling.
"I am deeply indebted to Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, Athletic Director Steve Pederson and Executive Associate Athletic Director Donna Sanft for their leadership and support. Thank you to all my co-workers, assistant coaches and wrestlers who over the years have given so much of themselves to make our success possible. Finally, I would like to thank my wife, daughters, family, and friends for always being there for me."
Although he is retiring from coaching, Stottlemyer will remain with the Pitt Athletic Department, serving in the position of Senior Advisor for Olympic Sports. In this capacity he will provide consultation and advice for each of the Panthers' 16 Olympic sports programs as they transition to competition in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013.
"Very few coaches retire at the top of their game and yet Rande Stottlemyer is doing just that," Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said. "Not only has Rande led our wrestling program to the top of the Eastern Wrestling League but he is also held in the highest regard by everyone in our athletic department. It would be hard to sufficiently put into words what Rande has meant to Pitt and to each of us individually. I am pleased that he has agreed to assist me in our transition to the ACC as his experience and guidance will be invaluable. Rande also built a coaching staff that is ready to take this program into a new conference and continue its legacy of success."
Succeeding Stottlemyer as head coach will be Jason Peters, an assistant at Pitt the past 10 seasons who was designated the program's head coach-in-waiting last fall. Peters played a vital role in the Panthers' impressive run of success as a lead recruiter and trainer. A 1998 graduate of East Stroudsburg University, Peters will become the 10th head coach in Pitt wrestling history. Matt Kocher, a former Pitt All-America wrestler who has served as an assistant coach the past four seasons, will also continue on the staff.
"Our program will continue to move forward under the guidance of Jason Peters and Matt Kocher," Stottlemyer said. "They have both been exemplary in their work ethic and commitment during their time at Pitt."
"Rande and I had many conversations over the past few years about the future of this program," Pederson said. "In Rande's opinion, as well as mine, we could not make a better choice than to elevate Jason Peters to the role of head wrestling coach at Pitt. The added bonus of Matt Kocher staying as the top assistant makes this a special time. We are all committed to helping Jason succeed and we are excited to watch his tenure as the leader of this program. As always, our staff will rally behind Jason, Matt and our student-athletes to make this a great transition."