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George Mason completes coaching staff

Greg Flournoy, Mark Weader and Canaan Bethea

FAIRFAX, Va. -- George Mason wrestling head coach Joe Russell has announced that Mark Weader and Canaan Bethea have been added to the staff as assistant coaches and Greg Flournoy will join the staff as a volunteer assistant coach.

Weader, a native of Danville, Pa., spent five years as an assistant coach and six years as the head coach at Mason. Before his coaching career began he was a four-year starter for the Patriots and finished his career with 75 wins.

"Since my arrival on campus, I have valued the support that Mark has given George Mason wrestling and myself," Russell said. "He cares deeply about George Mason University and the wrestling program. I have called on him to help me lead this program on multiple occasions, now we will get to work together in a more formal setting and I'm excited to build the program together."

Weader won the Colonial Athletic Association championship at 157 pounds and advanced to the NCAA Championships after the 1998-99 season. He has been coaching at Westfield High School in Chantilly, Va.

"I'm really excited to be part of the program again," Mark Weader said. "Wrestling and coaching here for so long I think I know from a technical standpoint what will help and from a mental approach, especially the new wrestlers getting used to college wrestling and building confidence. Joe and I have very similar ideas on where the program can go and what's important in terms of developing student-athletes."

Bethea, from Trenton, N.J., joins the Mason coaching staff with a history of being one of the best wrestlers in the country and has continued to train at the Pennsylvania Regional Training Center after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania.

"I have been a fan of Canaan from afar for several years," said Russell. "His older brother Jaaziah wrestled at Mason and I was able to get to know the wonderful Bethea family. I have particularly enjoyed watching Canaan compete, seeing him help build youth wrestling programs and have been impressed with our interactions."

Bethea's older brother, Jaaziah, wrestled for the Patriots from 2009-13 and finished fourth in the CAA Championships at the 157 weight class in 2013.

"I've known the program for a while and I came to matches when my brother was here," Bethea said. "To have some coaches that have so much experience that's all you can ask for and I'm excited to do what I can to help the program. One of my goals is to model what we want to see in our student-athletes, so I want to compete the way I would want them to compete and study."

During his time at the University of Pennsylvania, Bethea qualified for the NCAA tournament in 2013 and 2015.

"I am confident he will be a great mentor for our student-athletes. Canaan has a bright future and I am pleased he has chosen to coach at Mason," Russell said.

Flournoy, a four-year letterwinner at Mason from Rappahannock County, Va., will also join the coaching staff. He finished his final season wrestling for the Patriots with a 31-12 record and was named Most Outstanding Wrestler by the team.

"I wrestled for 18 years and to end it at a program like Mason with coach Russell, I couldn't ask for anything better," Flournoy said. "To be able to come back and give back as much as possible is a great feeling. I still want to be active and help the program that made me successful."

Flournoy qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2015 and 2016.

"Without a doubt, I am pleased Greg has agreed to stick around to coach at his alma mater," Russell said. "His recent experience as a student-athlete will certainly help him lead the team. He has walked down the same path and done so with success and his knowledge will shorten the learning curve for the current wrestlers at Mason."

The Mason wrestling team begins the season at home on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. against Indiana University at the Recreation and Athletic Complex.

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