When Heath Eslinger interviewed for the head coaching job at Purdue, his top assistant in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling program began getting his resume in order.
Although Eslinger declined to move to the Big Ten school, Jon Sioredas had decided he wanted to pursue a Division I head coaching job.
He landed one, being named head coach at Grand Canyon University, a private Christian school in Phoenix that boasts a fully funded athletic program.
"It's a new program. They started wrestling in 2008 as a [NCAA] Division II member. As of last year they're transitioning to Division I," Sioredas said. "My goal was to be a Division I head coach. I will miss the relationships I've built with the [UTC] kids, with Heath and with the coaching staff and wrestling family here, but this is what I have chosen to do and it's part of the journey."
A finalist also for the head coaching job at Northern Colorado, Sioredas replaces R.C. LaHaye.
After a whirlwind week of doctor appointments, getting his house on the market and a myriad of other moving tasks, Sioredas is leaving Friday and plans to meet with the GCU wrestling team Sunday afternoon.
"They've been without a coach for a month, and I'm anxious to assess where we are and show them my plan of action," he said.
The former Moc All-American said his wife and 3-year-old son will fly out to join him next week.
"Jon has made a major contribution to the program," Eslinger said. "He bought into our philosophy of raising up people, not just athletes. He's done a great job with our guys from a development standpoint. He has done everything that was asked of him, and I think that's why he's getting a head coaching opportunity."
Eslinger is in no rush to hire a replacement, although the Mocs begin early workouts Monday.
"Yes, it's late, but I don't want to rush into anything," he said. "We'll be fine. We have a very mature team, and that's a good thing."
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.
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 ...