Bleise, Williams added to CSU Bakersfield staff

Steve Bleise gets his hand raised after a win against Oklahoma State (Photo/Mark Beshey, The Guillotine)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- CSU Bakersfield head coach Manny Rivera has announced the addition of two staff members for the 2020-21 campaign. Former Old Dominion Assistant Coach Steve Bleise will join the Roadrunners in a similar capacity, while former CSUB grappler Matt Williams will become the program's Director of Operations.

Bleise helped the Monarchs to a 10-9 overall record, a 6-2 mark in Mid-American Conference duals and was named the National Collegiate Open coach of the year in 2019-20. He mentored Old Dominion's Michael McGee, who captured the program's first NCO Championship and was one of six Monarchs to earn NCO All-American honors.

Bleise wrestled three seasons at Northern Illinois before spending his final two collegiate seasons with Minnesota. He reached the NCAA Championship meet four times during his undergraduate career. As a Gopher, Bleise served as a team captain and earned Academic All-Big Ten accolades.

"It's always exciting to bring a hungry, young coach onto our staff," said Rivera. "We look forward to the immediate impact Steve will have on our wrestlers. He brings a contagious enthusiasm and ambition that will serve our program well."

Williams won 96 career bouts in his `Runner career, ranking 15th all-time on CSUB's career wins list. His 31 career pins rank sixth in program history. Williams reached the NCAA Tournament in each of his final two seasons in Bakersfield and finished as the Pac-12 runner-up during his senior campaign.

A graduate of Sultana High School in Hesperia, Calif., Williams placed seventh at the Freestyle US Open while competing in the 97-kilogram weight class in 2017.

"I'm very excited to welcome back Matt Williams to our program," Rivera said. "You cannot go wrong adding someone with such high character to your staff. As an alum, he knows what it means to be a Roadrunner and he'll share that with our athletes every day."

The `Runners finished third at the Pac-12 Championships in 2020, finishing off a season that saw them compile a 7-6 dual meet record. Russell Rohlfing and Josh Loomer captured Pac-12 Championships to advance to the NCAA Tournament, giving CSUB at least one national qualifier for the 47th-straight season.


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