Stephen Abas (Photo/John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com)
It's not every day that a high school wrestling program lands a coach who was an Olympic medalist.
Stephen Abas, 2008 Olympic silver medalist and three-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion at Fresno State, has been named head wrestling coach at Fresno High School, the Fresno Unified School District announced Friday.
"We are excited to welcome Coach Abas to Fresno Unified, knowing that he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with our Fresno High student-athletes," said Fresno Unified Superintendent Bob Nelson.
The statement said Abas would take the helm of the Warriors wrestling program at Fresno High immediately.
"One of the greatest wrestlers of his generation" is how the 41-year-old Abas is described in his National Wrestling Hall of Fame biography, welcomed as a Distinguished Member of the Stillwater, Oklahoma-based Hall in June 2018. Among his freestyle career highlights: Olympic silver medalist in freestyle competition at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece ... 2003 Pan American gold medalist ... and three-time member of the U.S.A. World Team.
Stephen Abas' collegiate mat career was no less impressive. As a wrestler at Fresno State University, Abas was a four-time NCAA All-American, winning three NCAA titles at 125 pounds in 1999, 2001, and 2002. Abas tallied a 144-4 overall record for the Bulldogs, including 46 pins. Abas' career winning percentage of 97.3 percent is also a school record. For all these accomplishments, Abas was named the Fresno State Male Athlete of the Year in 1999 and 2001. What's more, Abas was one of 15 former college wrestlers named to the NCAA 75th Anniversary Team in 2005, joining Tom Brands, Dan Gable, John Smith and Yojiro Uetake among the five honorees in the lightweight (115-141 pound) category.
Before launching his collegiate and freestyle wrestling career, Abas won three California high school state championships at Canyon Springs High School in Moreno Valley.
Abas can also claim a perfect 3-0 career as a professional mixed martial arts fighter in 2010-2011.
Established in 1889, Fresno High School is a public high school located in Fresno, Calif. It has a total enrollment of approximately 2,300 students in grades 9-12.