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Hrovat announces retirement from coaching wrestling

Andy Hrovat coaching David Habat at the World Championships (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

After a third of a century of involvement in wrestling as a wrestler and coach, Andy Hrovat has announced his retirement.

The two-time Ohio high school state champ, three-time NCAA All-American for University of Michigan, and 2008 U.S. Olympic men's freestyle wrestler who then shared his knowledge and experience as a coach, announced his retirement Wednesday on social media and his website.

"Today is a very exciting time in my life," Hrovat wrote on his Facebook page. "After much thought I have decided to step away from the sport of wrestling after competing and coaching for the last 33 years. I am exploring options for what I will do next as a career but like everything I have done with wrestling nobody has to question that I will be successful in whatever I choose."

Hrovat opened his 1,300-word retirement announcement on his website Wednesday thusly: "Today marks the 10th year anniversary of the opening ceremonies for 2008 Olympic Games. I can still vividly remember walking through the tunnel of the arena surrounded by my wrestling friends and all the other members of Team USA. Entering that arena was just one of the many highlights from my Olympic experience and was the culmination of all my years training.

"When the Olympics ended I felt in my heart that there were still things in the sport that I wanted to accomplish. My post-Olympic journey as a wrestler included moving to Colorado Springs to become a resident athlete at the Olympic Training Center, as well as living for a whole year in Vladikavkaz, Russia to learn the Russian training system. My time spent in Russia was the absolute highlight of my wrestling career, when I left, I took with me knowledge and experience no other American has ever had.

"In 2011 when I returned home from Russia I decided to retire as an athlete and start my coaching career. I had given everything I had to the sport and in return the sport had given me all that I needed as an athlete, so my decision to retire was a natural one ... "

Hrovat then went on to outline his varied career as coach and entrepreneur. Among the highlights: launching his coaching career as an assistant to Zeke Jones and the USA National Team ... then as coach at the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club ... then helped launch Double Leg Ninja custom wrestling apparel distributor for Cliff Keen Athletic with Jake Herbert and Steven Fisher ... then, developing BASE Wrestling with Herbert.

Here's how Hrovat closed his retirement announcement:

"I want to thank USA Wrestling, the Slovenia Wrestling Federation, the Serbian Wrestling Federation, the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club, the New York Athletic Club, Cliff Keen Athletic and Asics America for supporting me through my career as a coach and allowing me to represent each organization. I want to thank the University of Michigan Wrestling staff for allowing me to run the CKWC and work together to make the Michigan Regional Training one of the best places to train in the country. I want to thank my family for supporting me through my entire wrestling career as an athlete and coach, without their support I would not have been able to do half of what I did. Lastly and most important I want to thank all the athletes that trusted me with their training and development, I hope each of you grew as much out of our relationship as I have."

Born in Cleveland in January 1980, Hrovat crafted an impressive on-the-mat career. He wrestled for Greg Urbas at the storied St. Edward High School in suburban Lakewood, where he was a two-time Ohio state wrestling champ. After graduating from St. Ed in 1998, Hrovat enrolled at University of Michigan, where he was a three-time NCAA All-American and four-time Big Ten championships placer. He completed his athletic career for the Wolverines with a 132-29 overall record.

Hrovat then focused on freestyle wrestling. Among the highlights: silver medalist at 2007 Pan American Games ... and member of the U.S. team competing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, wrestling at 84 kilograms/185 pounds. Hrovat was ranked in the nation at No. 2 after the 2009 World Team Trials. He retired from wrestling in 2011.

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