LA GRANDE, Ore. -- Michael Ayala has been hired as the Eastern Oregon head women's wrestling coach, director of athletics Anji Weissenfluh announced on Monday.
"After conducting a national search we are excited to announce Michael Ayala as our women's wrestling coach," said Weissenfluh. "Through the interview process, it was clear to see that not only will Michael's ties to the pacific northwest be beneficial to him leading our program, but Michael is dedicated and excited to be part of growing the sport of women's wrestling. His ability to connect with student-athletes and to identify quality prospects are some of what we believe will help him find success at EOU."
Ayala brings a strong resume of work with both women's and men's wrestling at the University of Providence, a Cascade Collegiate Conference rival in wrestling. In 2017, Ayala joined the Argos as the assistant men's wrestling coach. He then filled in as the interim head women's wrestling coach during the first half of the 2018-19 year, later returning to his role as an assistant for both the men's and women's programs.
"I'm very honored to coach a group of hardworking women," said Ayala. "I really like the team chemistry and every athlete here wants to get better. I'm excited to get to help these student-athletes reach their goals on and off the mat. We want to be competitive and excel at all levels, and we strive to be the best in the classroom, community, and on the mat."
Ayala also has experience as the assistant strength and conditioning coach at Providence where he helped program and develop various workouts for the Argo athletic teams.
"Michael's high energy personality, his plan and vision for EOU women's wrestling, past coaching experience, and his competitive drive will no doubt be contributing factors in him raising the bar for our women's wrestling program," said Weissenfluh.
Ayala obtained his Bachelor's degree in Psychology from University of Great Falls (now named University of Providence), and has a Master's degree in Clinical Counseling. He is a USA Wrestling Bronze certified coach and has years of experience coaching free style, the style of women's collegiate wrestling.
The women's wrestling program wrapped up its third year with two NAIA All-Americans and one WCWA All-American, finishing 13th at the inaugural NAIA Invitational.