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Bigdely to head up Ottawa University's women's program

Mahdi Bigdely has been named head coach of the women's wrestling program at Ottawa University, the Kansas-based school announced Monday.

Mahdi Bigdely
Bigdely brings valuable experience to a program that first took to the mats in 2014.

Before coming to Ottawa, Bigdely was a graduate assistant coach with the University of Jamestown women's wrestling program in North Dakota. In 2015, he was invited to coach at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to help the Women's Wrestling National Team train for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

A native of Teheran, Iran, Bigdely has coached many wrestling teams in national and international competitions, leading them to a first-place finish. He also coached the Tehran Wrestling Team in the Iran National Wrestling Championships in 2012 and 2013. The team earned first in 2012 and third in 2013. Bigdely served as an analyst for the Iran National Teams at the 2012 London Olympics. He was also a member of the Scientific Committee of the National Olympic Committee for the Islamic Republic of Iran for the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Prior to launching his coaching career, Bigdely wrestled for the Iranian National Team. He made his first appearance on the national stage as a 16-year-old, and won championships in different national and international tournaments. Bigdely last competed in 2006, placing in several international and Asian tournaments over the course of his mat career.

"We are very pleased that Coach Bigdely has accepted our offer to become our new head women's wrestling coach," said Arabie Conner, OU athletic director. "His international coaching and competitive wrestling experience and successes will add depth and knowledge to our women's program and wrestling staff. We expect him to be instrumental in continuing to grow our program and develop our student-athletes in all aspects including the competitive levels they each seek to attain. Through the search process, we have been very impressed with Coach Bigdely's level of professionalism, lifelong commitment to the sport of wrestling and his high character values. He has both competed and coached at a very elite level including his work with Olympic level athletes and we look forward to what he will bring to our program and campus community."

"I am honored and extremely excited for the opportunity to be a part of this young and very promising women's wrestling program at Ottawa University," said Bigdely. "I am confident that together we can accomplish outstanding results, both academically and athletically, that our university and our community can be proud of. I would like to sincerely thank Mrs. Arabie Conner and the University for giving me this opportunity."

Ottawa University was founded in 1856. The four-year school, affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA, has a student enrollment of 600 at its main residential campus in Ottawa, Kan.; there are additional learning centers scattered across the nation.

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