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DeAnda named head coach of new women's program at University of Great Falls

Tony DeAnda accepts the Team Scholar Award while at Jamestown from Archie Randall

Tony DeAnda has been named head coach of the brand-new women's wrestling program at the University of Great Falls, the school announced Monday.

In January, the University of Great Falls announced it would launch the first intercollegiate women's wrestling program in the state of Montana, joining an existing men's program. The women's program will take to the mats during the 2017-18 school year.

DeAnda brings considerable experience as a women's wrestling coach to the new Lady Argos mat program. For the past six seasons, DeAnda served as head coach of the women's program at the University of Jamestown in North Dakota. During his tenure, the Jimmies had 16 WCWA (Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association) All-Americans, and finished in the top 10 in the team standings at the national championships all but one season. What's more, the Jimmies were winners in the classroom under DeAnda's guidance, with six WCWA Scholar-Athletes.

Prior to coaching at Jamestown, DeAnda spent six years as an Assistant Women's Freestyle Wrestling Coach at the United States Olympic Education Center for USA Wrestling. During his time with USA Wrestling, he coached two Cadet Pan-Am Championship teams, two Junior Pan-Am Championship teams, one Youth Olympic Games Pan-Am Championship team, and one Senior Pan-Am Championship team. He also coached 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist Randi Miller and conduced an Olympic Solidarity Coaches Seminar for the International Olympic Committee in Guayaquil, Ecuador in 2010.

DeAnda launched his coaching career just over two decades ago, first, as an assistant at Lincoln East High School in Lincoln, Neb., then as a graduate assistant at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa before returning to his high school alma mater to join the staff at Bishop Heenan Catholic in Sioux City.

Tony DeAnda gets his hand raised after defeating Scott Schatzman at RPW (Photo/Danielle Hobeika)

DeAnda's on-the-mat career was equally impressive. He was a two-time NCAA Division II All-American at Augustana University in South Dakota who then transferred to the University of Nebraska, where he was a NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships qualifier. In freestyle, he was a five-time Mexican National Champion and placed at the U.S. Nationals three times. In addition, DeAnda won a bronze medal at the 2003 Pan American Games, having been ranked in the top 10 in the USA from 2001-05. What's more, Tony DeAnda was champion at 60 kilograms/132 pounds for Real Pro Wrestling, a 2005 venture where amateur wrestlers could compete for prize money.

"I'm excited to start a program from scratch. There are obviously two sides to that, but I see it as a chance to create something great," DeAnda said about taking the helm of the new women's program at University of Great Falls. "I think the location of being close to the west coast, and being able to get recruits from California, Oregon, and Washington is going to be a good pitch. I think the town is a great size, and the wrestling community in Great Falls is tremendous which for any wrestling coach is a dream come true."

The school's Vice-President for Athletics, Dave Gantt, was equally upbeat.

"We have high hopes for this program and wanted to make sure we hired the right person to build it from the ground up," said Gantt. "Through the process, it became clear that Tony's experience, character, personality, and fit with the University's mission made him an excellent overall fit. He has already proven he can lead a successful, reputable college women's wrestling team, and with his coaching experience, this program can have an instant impact on the national stage."

The University of Great Falls is a private Roman Catholic university located in Great Falls, Montana. It has an enrollment of approximately 1,100 students.

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