Jeff Jordan has retired as head wrestling coach at Graham High School in St. Paris, Ohio.
Jordan, who started as an assistant coach in 1994 and promoted in 2001 to the head coaching position of the wrestling program that finished last season ranked No. 5 in the nation by InterMat, announced his retirement to his wrestlers and to the Graham school board this week. Graham Local Schools made his decision public Thursday.
"Discussing it over with my wife over the past couple of weeks, I've decided it is time for me to retire," the long-time coach said in a statement released by the school. "What I am going to miss most is building the relationships with the student-athletes."
"Over the course of 25 years, Graham High School has been fortunate to have a unique, nationally-recognized wrestling program led by a unique leader," said Graham Superintendent Kirk Koennecke. "Jeff Jordan took this program to elite status through hard work, dedication and a commitment to developing excellent student-athletes. There has never been an equivalent program in OHSAA sports history in terms of producing individual state champions and team championships. This is the best, period. We are grateful for all Jeff has done for the Graham Local Schools and our school community."
Graham Board President Ryan Pine echoed those sentiments, saying, "Coach Jordan has successfully coached a dynasty program that created a unified, special atmosphere among athletes and community. His team is family to him, and the Graham community takes ownership in the fact that he was home grown."
On behalf of the Graham community we cannot thank Jeff Jordan enough. It's sad to hear his retirement has come sooner than later, but his wrestling legacy will forever carry on. We can't wait to see what this next season brings for the falcons!— Graham Wrestling (@GrahamWrestling) September 14, 2018
Jeff Jordan is very much a product of the program he helped nurture and grow as a coach. As a wrestler, he was a four-time Ohio state champion at the school known nationwide as St. Paris Graham, a public high school located in St. Paris, a town of approximately 2,000 residents straight west of Columbus and north of Dayton. Jordan went on to wrestle at the University of Wisconsin, where he was an NCAA All-American for the Badgers. Prior to returning to Graham as an assistant coach nearly a quarter-century ago, Jordan had coached at Purdue University.
As head coach at Graham, Jordan and his wrestlers put up some impressive statistics. According to the Urbana Daily Citizen, the Falcons won three national titles (2008, 2010, and 2015)… claimed 17 Ohio team titles and 79 individual Ohio state champs, with 28 wrestlers going on to earn NCAA All-American honors. In addition, Jordan earned a number of honors, being named National Wrestling Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2009, and National High School Coach of the Year in 2003. He was welcomed into the Ohio High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1996, and the Ohio National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2016. In 2014 Jordan was presented with a Lifetime Service Award by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Dayton Daily News sportswriter Marc Pendleton described the legendary, long-time coach at Graham High School thusly: "A fiery presence at matches who brought out the best in the Falcons and garnered well-earned respect from opposing coaches and competitors, Jeff Jordan's intensity as a wrestler and coach can be summed up in his Twitter handle: @rambo_jordan."
The legendary coach was anything but Rambo-like in his statements upon announcing his retirement.
"It has been an honor and privilege to have coached at Graham High School for the past 25 years," said Jeff Jordan. "My first state champion was Dan Bair in 1995 and my last was my youngest son Rocky Jordan in 2018. I've always told people that I have the greatest job in the world."
"I want to thank Graham for giving me the opportunity to do what I've always wanted to do," coach Jordan continued. "I also want to thank the community, parents, and all my assistant coaches for helping and supporting me in our journey to win state titles as well as building character in our student-athletes. To all the wrestlers I've coached, thank you for the great memories we've shared in training and sacrificing to reach our goals. Most, importantly, I want to thank my wife Amy and three sons Bo, Micah, and Rocky, for sacrificing so much for me to do what I truly love to do."
(Bo and Micah were four-time state champs; Rocky was a three-time state champ. Bo and Micah also were All-Americans at Ohio State. Rocky is a freshman with the Buckeyes.)
A successor has yet to be named.