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Roye Oliver takes over as Warrior wrestling coach


Last updated 10/27/2006 at Noon

Roye Oliver will be the new Fallbrook High School varsity wrestling coach when that sport commences activity in November.

Oliver was named to the position September 8. He succeeds Charlie Russell, who stepped down after 13 years as the varsity coach.

“It’s going to be tough, but I think we can do it,” Oliver said. “We’ve got the personnel, we’ve got the kids here, we’ve got the support from the school.”

What Oliver, who had been an assistant coach for the wrestling team for the past three years, will not have is the 2005-06 seniors. That group included Joey Granata, who qualified for both the state and national tournaments in 2006 and who is now on the Cal State University Bakersfield team. Two other seniors, Scott Newell and Nolan Hamblin, both reached the CIF Masters tournament and were both two matches away from earning berths in the state tournament. Russell’s belief is that seniors Jeff Albritton and Evan Anwyl also would have reached the Masters had injuries not ended their seasons early. “We had a pretty good senior class last year,” Oliver said.

That senior class will be tough to replace, but Oliver sees long-term hope. “They’ve got a very good group like that now that started as freshmen,” said Oliver, who believes that the sophomore wrestlers are the strongest class he has this year.

“He’s taken over the reins and very excited,” athletic director John Hayek said of Oliver. “He’s real excited about doing a good job here, and I know that he will.”

Oliver had also been a substitute campus supervisor for the past three years. On September 5 he was hired as a full-time campus supervisor.

“Roye is very popular on this campus. He is our best recruiter for this sport,” Hayek said. “He sells his program very well, and his numbers are constantly increasing.”

Oliver attended high school in Omaha before wrestling for Arizona State University. He was a three-time NCAA Division I All-American for Arizona State and was an alternate on the 1984 Olympic team. He is a member of both the Nebraska Hall of Fame and the Arizona State University Hall of Fame.

Oliver would later become part of an Olympic team as a member of the coaching staff, helping the United States wrestlers for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. In 1986 he took a position as the Palomar College wresting coach, and he spent seven seasons coaching the Comets. He also coached the San Diego State University wrestling team for two years before the Aztecs dropped that sport in 1991.

Fallbrook High School wrestling is no stranger to the impacts of colleges dropping wrestling programs. Jesse Schwartz had earned a berth on the Marquette University wrestling team before that school dropped grappling from its athletic offerings. Granata was originally headed to Fresno State University before the Bulldogs dropped wrestling. Despite the decrease in college wrestling programs, Oliver is counting on his connections and knowledge at the national level to help place worthy Warrior grapplers into college programs. “Our goal is still to be pushing and try to get our kids in college regardless,” Oliver said.

Oliver eventually returned to eastern Nebraska, where he served as the assistant wrestling coach for the University of Nebraska from 1998 to 2003.

While Oliver was coaching at Palomar College, he also served as the wrestling coach at San Marcos High School. “I’m just happy to be back in this position,” he said of his return as a high school wrestling head varsity coach.

Ironically, another former San Marcos High School wrestling head coach is Greg Wagaman, who will be Oliver’s assistant coach. “We’ve just got to put the pieces together,” Oliver said.

Wagaman is also the head of the Fallbrook Wrestling Club, and Oliver has been an assistant with that organization. Oliver notes the need for a foundation so that high school wrestlers can do well as ninth-graders. “Our goal is to be the type of powerhouse program like Poway,” Oliver said.

Oliver became the Fallbrook assistant wrestling coach after returning to San Diego County in 2003. “It was pretty tough, but I think God prepared me to come back and work here,” he said.

“Coach Charlie was such a great guy and did such great things with the program. I’m looking forward to trying to follow his footsteps,” Oliver said. “I just put all my trust in God. He had me go in this circle for a reason.”


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