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Ellis joins Virginia coaching staff

Mark Ellis, 2009 NCAA heavyweight champ for University of Missouri, has joined the coaching staff at University of Virginia as an assistant coach, the school announced Saturday.

Mark Ellis
The former Mizzou big man joins a staff headed up by Steve Garland (a 2000 NCAA All-American for the Cavaliers), along with former Cornell University champ Jordan Leen as an assistant coach, and volunteer assistant Shelton Mack.

"We are thrilled to be welcoming Mark Ellis to the Virginia wrestling family," said Garland, who completed his tenth year at the helm last season. "Mark has won at the highest levels of Division I wrestling. He won an individual NCAA title as a student-athlete at Missouri where he competed for, and coached with, one of the greatest minds in our profession in Brian Smith. In addition to Coach Smith, Mark has learned from guys like Heath Eslinger (at Chattanooga) and Jon Sioredas (at Chattanooga and Grand Canyon) -- two men that I highly respect as well.

"When you think about that type of mentorship and the program culture he was developed under at Missouri, I think he can help our program in a plethora of ways," Garland said. "Family is also really important to Mark and I trust he will set a great example for our team off the mat as well."

Mark Ellis' response to his hiring was succinct. In retweeting the Virginia wrestling announcement Saturday afternoon, Ellis simply added, "Pumped!"

Ellis brings diverse experience as a coach and wrestler to the Atlantic Coast Conference school located in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Most recently, Ellis was an assistant coach at Grand Canyon University in Arizona before that program was eliminated. Prior to heading to the Phoenix-based school, Ellis served as an assistant coach at Chattanooga where he helped guide the Mocs into the top 20 of the national rankings during the 2013-14 season. Chattanooga won the Southern Conference Championship that season and sent five wrestlers to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

A two-time All-American at Missouri, Ellis claimed the 2009 NCAA heavyweight title as the second-seeded wrestler at heavyweight. He defeated five nationally-ranked wrestlers on his way to the championship, including a 3-2 win over No. 5 seed Konrad Dudziak in the title bout.

The following year, Ellis earned All-American honors for the second time by placing sixth in the 285-pound bracket at the 2010 NCAAs.

A native of Raymore, Missouri, Ellis compiled a 90-39 record at Missouri. He scored 30 falls as a Tiger, ranking him sixth in terms of career pins. In addition, Ellis was a two-time Big 12 conference finalist. Ellis also captured the Ed Lampitt Award in 2010.

Ellis was the first wrestler to earn All-America status as a heavyweight at Missouri and only the second NCAA champion in program history, following two-time champ Ben Askren, who was Ellis' college roommate.

Beyond his wrestling and coaching career, Ellis has also competed in mixed martial arts (MMA), with two professional fights in the ProElite promotion in 2011.

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