LITTLE ROCK -- Little Rock head wrestling coach Neil Erisman today announced the addition of Javier Maldonado as the first assistant coach in Trojan program history.
"Javier is going to be a great addition to our program," Erisman said. "His knowledge, experience and overall character align with who we are and the direction we are going. He has a unique experience in building a program from scratch as well, so those insights will be invaluable as we build ours. I am thrilled to have Javier and his family here at Little Rock."
Maldonado comes to Little Rock after spending the past four seasons as the head coach at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. Maldonado faced a similar challenge as Erisman, building a program from scratch, and led the Fire to a 41-31 dual meet record in his four years.
During his tenure at Southeastern, Maldonado mentored 18 national qualifiers with six wrestlers earning NAIA All-America honors. His teams posted a winning record in three of his four seasons, winning 12 dual meets in both 2015-16 and 2018-19, his first and last seasons, respectively.
Additionally, Maldonado's programs have succeeded in the classroom as well as the Fire led the Mid-South Conference in scholar-athlete honorees. Under his leadership, Southeastern finished 12th in the 2019 National Wrestling Coaches' Association Scholar All-American rankings with a combined 3.145 GPA for his starting lineup.
Prior to his time at Southeastern, Maldonado spent five seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater of Osceola High School in Kissimmee, Florida. During his time with the Kowboys, Maldonado coached seven individual state champions, 22 state place winner and nine All-Americans. As a team, Osceola finished in the top five in the state 3A rankings four times.
He also previously served as an assistant coach at Las Cruces High School in New Mexico and as a graduate assistant at NCAA Division I University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Maldonado was a three-time NCAA qualifier at 125 during his collegiate career at Chattanooga, capturing the Southern Conference individual title in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Maldonado posted a 79-31 record during his career with the Mocs, but his successes were not just limited to the mat as he was also a three-time NCWA Academic All-American and All-Southern Conference Academic Team member.
The Kissimmee, Florida native was a two-time Florida state champion at Osceola, going 44-1 as a senior. Maldonado was named a Senior Nationals Freestyle All-American and was an Academic Hall of Fame member, notching a pair of district titles.
Maldonado joins Erisman as the duo continue the task of building Little Rock's inaugural wrestling roster to begin competition in the fall of 2019. The Trojans have secured a conference affiliation, announcing its invitation to join the Pac-12 last week, and are working to complete Little Rock's inaugural schedule, which will be released later this summer.