Former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestler Jon Sioredas is coming home.
"Since I got the job here, he's the guy I've gone after every year. This time he bit the hook," Mocs coach Heath Eslinger said. "It is important to have people on staff who have a vested interest."
Sioredas has that interest. A transfer from Missouri, he was a two-time NCAA qualifier (2004, '05) and earned All-America honors in 2005 with a fifth-place finish at 165 pounds.
"I always knew I would make my way back," Sioredas said of his return. "Heath and Rocco [Mansueto] and Mike Hatcher have laid the groundwork. Now is a perfect time to jump on board."
Sioredas joins the Mocs after spending the last six seasons as an assistant at Old Dominion, which set a school record this past season by qualifying seven wrestlers for the NCAA national tournament.
"He brings a ton of intensity and he loves the wrestling room," Eslinger said. "My job as a head coach is to fill every gap and to hold things together. Rocco does a great job with details and marketing. Jon brings a lot to the practice room. He still likes to wrestle on a daily basis, and he brings a ton of energy."
"A lot of the work has been done," Sioredas said. "The first two years are the most difficult following a [coaching] change. Heath and Rocco have done a great job of getting kids here, and now it's about putting kids on the [NCAA medalist] podium."
Sioredas, who wrestled under Terry Brands and Eslinger when the latter was an assistant coach, was a two-time Southern Conference champion. In 2005 he was the SoCon wrestler of the year and the tournament outstanding wrestler. His career record was 49-12, and he also earned national dean'slist honors.
"When I came here [in 2004] it was a business trip -- get a degree and win a national title," Sioredas said, "but after spending two years here I fell in love with the town."
Over the past 12 months, though, he has been back four times -- a summer camp, twice for competition and then for his induction into UTC's Hall of Fame this past winter.
He is eager to get his wife, Michelle, and their 11-month-old son moved so he can get down to the business of coaching wrestling.
"We actually have a training camp starting soon for the University nationals," he said, "and after that it will be back to training. I'm big on preparation -- getting guys better in the room -- but I'll also be dealing with recruiting and academics. I am sure Hatch and I will be spending a great deal of time in the [practice] room together."
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...