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Two-time NCAA champ Perry joins Arizona State coaching staff

Mark Perry coaching Forrest Molinari (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State wrestling added another impressive hire to its coaching staff on Friday, with head coach Zeke Jones announcing the addition of four-time All-American and two-time NCAA champion Mark Perry.

"We just hit another home run coaching hire with Mark Perry," Coach Jones said. "He comes with a tremendous amount of elite coaching experience as an associate head coach at the college level. He's a natural-born leader, with a rich family wrestling tradition and just adds another head coach to our room. Not only has he won national championships, but he's also coached at the world and Olympic level and will be a great addition to our staff."

Most recently, Perry has spent his time as a head coach at the Hawkeye Wrestling Club developing post-graduate wrestlers for national and international competition, training most notably 2017 World Silver medalist Thomas Gilman. He returned to Iowa City in 2017, where he has spent the last three seasons before taking the position with the Sun Devils.

The hire comes just over a week after ASU named Frank Molinaro as an assistant coach last Thursday. The Barnegat, N.J. native and Perry know each other far too well, as Perry coached Molinaro at Penn State in his freshman season in 2008-09.

"I was basically in charge of the freshman and I was lucky they had two amazing freshman at the time in Frank Molinaro and Quentin Wright," Coach Perry stated. "Those were the two guys that I had the chance to coach and they went on to do amazing things throughout their career."

"Franky is a lot like the whole staff there that Zeke has put together," Perry said. "A lot of high energy guys. When I first met Franky, we hit it off very well in a lot of ways - personality, energy, and enthusiasm. I can't tell you how excited I am that he is out there. We have kept our relationship for almost 12 years since I have coached him. We have always had a great relationship and we will continue to have a great relationship. Arizona State is lucky to have Frank on board."

Perry ended his collegiate wrestling career at Iowa as a two-time NCAA champion after winning back-to-back titles at 165 pounds in 2007 and 2008. He was a four-time All-American from 2005-08 while capturing a Big Ten championship in 2007. The Stillwater, Okla. native became Iowa's 14th two-time national champion and 17th four-time All-American, helping lead the Hawkeyes to their 21st NCAA team title in 2008.

Perry made his longest tenure as an assistant coach at the University of Illinois under former Hawkeye Jim Heffernan for six seasons from 2011-2017. Perry showed his ability to recruit the state of California in his time at Illinois, landing two-time NCAA champion Isaiah Martinez and Justin Mejia, Illinois top recruit in 2017.

Before coaching for the Fighting Illini, he spent two seasons at Cal Poly as an assistant in 2009-10 and later being promoted associate head coach the next season. His California recruiting success began in San Luis Obispo, where he recruited two-time national champion, Jesse Delgado, who would later follow Perry to Illinois.

He made the immediate jump to coaching at the college level following his senior season at Iowa with a brief stint in College Station, PA with Penn State in 2008-09. He was in charge of the freshman class in that lone season, helping develop Quentin Wright and Molinaro into All-Americans in their first seasons.

Perry graduated with a B.A. in Art from the University of Iowa in 2008. Before entering the college ranks, he was a two-time high school national champion at one of the most successful high school wrestling programs in Blair Academy, where he ended with a career record of 169-7 and was selected as a three-time Asics All-American.

He will serve as the voluntary assistant coach in Tempe while also taking over as the head coach for Sunkist Wrestling Club. The Sun Devils return four top-10 seeded wrestlers from last season's canceled championships and the second-ranked recruiting class from 2019.

"I'm super excited to join Zeke's (Jones) staff," Perry said. "I have followed Zeke's career since he was an assistant and the head coach of USA Wrestling. It has been impressive what Arizona State has done since he's taken over from the outside looking in. I had the opportunity to talk with Zeke about his vision and the staff that he was putting together. I am very excited."

The hire is pending background paperwork by Human Resources.

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