WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue head coach Tony Ersland rounded out his coaching staff Monday, naming Leroy Vega as his volunteer assistant coach for the 2019-20 season. A three-time NCAA All-American, Vega will work primarily with the lower weight classes.
Vega's name is widely known on the Indiana high school wrestling scene, from his days on the mat and to most recently, his days in the corner. He joins the Purdue staff after eight years as the head coach at his alma mater, Portage High School, in northwest Indiana. During his span as head coach, Vega had 41 Indiana High School Athletic Association state tournament qualifiers, with 10 appearing in the finals and three Portage wrestlers claiming an individual title. In 2015, the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association named Vega its coach of the year.
As a prep at Portage, Vega was a two-time state champion in 1996 and 1997. His success translated on the international scene as well. In 1998, Vega placed ninth at 60 kilograms the UWW Junior Greco-Roman World Championships. The following year, competing at 54 kilograms in freestyle, he placed seventh at the world championships.
Vega wrestled collegiately at Minnesota from 1999 to 2002 and scattered his name throughout the legendary program. Individually, Vega earned All-America honors three times at 125 pounds and captured the Big Ten Conference 125-pound title in 2002. His performances helped the Gophers win three Big Ten team titles and back-to-back NCAA team titles in 2001 and 2002.
Vega tallied a career record of 135-26, with his 135 wins ranking fifth all-time at Minnesota and his .839 winning percentage ranking 17th. He owned a career dual record of 65-14, with the 65 wins tied for seventh on the Gophers' individual dual wins list.
Prior to his head coaching appointment at Portage, Vega was named the inaugural head coach at Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Indiana, with the birth of the program in 2008. He was at the helm through the 2009-10 season before returning to his roots in Portage.
Vega earned his Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and teaching from Minnesota in 2002. He and his wife, Sarah, have two daughters, LillyAnna and Lilah, and a son, Lydon.