John Smith has been the wrestling coach at Oklahoma State for 22 years. The Cowboys have won five national championships in wrestling while Smith has been head coach, four as a member of the Big 12. This week Smith was named Big 12 Wrestling Coach of the Year, the 10th time he has been so honored. Two times he has shared the award with Jack Spates, Smith’s counterpart at Oklahoma.
Smith led the Cowboys to 20-1 record this past season, and his team was a perfect 6-0 in Big 12 competition. The Cowboys were runner-up at the 2012 NCAA Championships, and Smith was earlier named as the Division I Coach of the Year by Amateur Wrestling News.
In postseason competition this winter, eight of his Cowboy wrestlers were individual champions in the Big 12, seven earned All-America honors and two were crowned national champions.
In his career, Smith has coached 28 national champions, 102 All-Americans, and 82 indivifual conference champions and has won 14 conference team championships and two regular-season conference titles. His capstone season was 2005, when his squad went 21-0 in dual competition and topped off the season with five separate Cowboy wrestlers (half of the OSU wrestlers entered in the competition) becoming individual champions.
A native Oklahoman, the 47-year-old Smith was a four-time state wrestling champion in high school and compiled a career record of 154-7-2 wrestling at Oklahoma State. He is a six-time world champion and two-time Olympic champion. He became the wrestling coach at OSU in the 1991-92 season.
Besides Smith, only eight other Big 12 wrestling coaches have been voted Coach of the Year.