Virginia Wrestling Names Joe Seay Assistant Coach
May 8, 2003
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – University of Virginia head wrestling coach Lenny Bernstein has announced the addition of Joe Seay to the Virginia wrestling coaching staff. Seay, a 1963 graduate of Kansas State University, was named as an assistant wrestling coach at UVa and will serve as Bernstein’s volunteer assistant. He joins current assistant wrestling coach Jim Stanec on the Virginia coaching staff.
Seay joins the UVa coaching staff with a wealth of wrestling experience. His long list of accomplishments as a wrestling coach include numerous prestigious honors. Seay racked up 480 career wins as a head coach after coaching stints at Bakersfield South High School, California State-Bakersfield and at Oklahoma State University. His head coaching resume began in 1964 at Bakersfield South HS where he posted a mark of 177-12-2 from 1964-1972 and was named the National High School Coach of the Year.
Following his stay at Bakersfield South HS, Seay moved on to coach at the collegiate level at Division II Cal State-Bakersfield where he put together an overall record of 189-56-2 from 1972-1984 and won seven National Championships. After his successful tenure at CSB, Seay moved on to perennial power Oklahoma State where he coached from 1984-1991 and tallied a mark of 114-18-2 during his stay at OSU. He guided the Cowboys to back-to-back National Championships in 1989 and 1990. His teams at Cal State-Bakersfield and Oklahoma State recorded a total of nine NCAA Championships combined. Seay is the only coach to win collegiate team titles in both divisions (I and II) and he was named the National Coach of the Year a total of five times.
After leaving his mark on the high school and collegiate level, Seay set his sights on coaching on the international scale. Already closely affiliated with the Sunkist Kids Freestyle program, Seay became their head coach and continued the club’s unbroken streak of national freestyle championships. He also held head coaching positions with USA Wrestling with head coaching duties at the World Cup (1986 and 1991), the Pan American Games (1995), the World Championships (1993 and 1995) and the Olympic Games (1996). He coached the USA to its first-ever Senior World Freestyle championship in 1993 and repeated two years later, also leading a Pan American Games victory in 1995. At the Centennial Olympics in Atlanta, Seay’s wrestlers won the medal count. As a coach who has left a huge impact on all levels of the sport, Seay was also honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for all of his accomplishments.
Bernstein recognizes the knowledge and experience that Seay brings to the UVa wrestling program and is excited to have such a quality member joining him on his staff.
“Joe has succeeded at every level, both as a competitor and as a coach,” said Bernstein. “To have a guy who coached the Olympic team and two NCAA Division I team championships on your staff will help in so many ways – recruiting,coaching, training, you name it. Bringing Joe on board has already attracted and will continue to attract Olympic hopefuls to Charlottesville, either to train full time or for a week or two at a time. The wrestling community knows what a huge plus this will be for our program. The wrestlers here are as equally excited as the rest of the coaching staff. The future continues to look bright for UVa wrestling.”
Seay, who graduated from Kansas State in 1963, wrestled three years at KSU and won three national Greco-Roman crowns while placing second twice in freestyle. He also received a masters degree from KSU in 1964 and earned a post-graduate degree from Fresno State University in 1969.
— UVa —