Joe Dubuque and Sean Gray talk promotions to Associate Head Coaches at Princeton
Entering his 12th year at the helm of the Princeton wrestling program, head coach Chris Ayres recognizes two of the driving forces who have helped bring the Tigers back to national prominence within the sport. He was happy to announce that both Sean Gray and Joe Dubuque have been promoted to associate head coaches as the team enters the 2017 season.
“Coaches Joe Dubuque and Sean Gray have been incredible for our program, and they really have the experience and skills necessary to be head coaches, but they just have not had the opportunity to be recognized more formally in that role,” Ayres said. “I am thankful that we are able to change their titles to Associate Head Coach, as they have certainly earned it. For the past few years I would pitch to recruits that they should come here because it is really ‘like’ being coached by three head coaches (Dubuque, Gray and myself), and these new titles show how much I believe that.”
Both Gray (entering his seventh season) and Dubuque (entering his sixth season) have helped push Princeton back to the elite tier of programs in the EIWA, and they have helped Princeton develop a pair of All-Americans in the last two years. This past season, Princeton sent a program-record seven Tigers to the NCAA Championships, where the team finished in the Top 25 for the sixth time in school history. Princeton finished third at EIWAs, won two individual titles, and it returned to the Ivy League championship match for the second straight year.
“I want to thank Coach Chris Ayres, Mollie Marcoux Samaan, and the Friends of Princeton Wrestling for the promotion of Associate Head Wrestling Coach at Princeton,” Gray said. “More than anything else, I think this says a lot about who Chris Ayres is and how far along he has brought the program. I feel blessed every day to work alongside two of the best coaches in country, and I am really excited for both myself and Joe. I look forward to seeing how far we can take the program in the future.”
Focusing on the future has been one of the most significant successes of both Gray and Dubuque, as they have consistently brought in nationally ranked recruiting classes to Princeton. While the Tigers will be led by sophomore All-American Matthew Kolodzik next season, Princeton does have its fourth straight Top 25 class coming in for the 2017-18 season.
“I am honored that Chris Ayres, Mollie Marcoux Samaan, and the Friends of Princeton Wrestling were confident in my abilities to give me the distinction of Associate Head Coach,” Dubuque said. “I will attack my new set of responsibilities with even more passion and commitment that will result in the consistent production of All-Americans, national champions and Top 10 team finishes.”
Princeton saw eight of its 10 starters named to the 2017 All-Ivy League team, while eight also placed at the EIWA Championships. Princeton finished third in the event with 113 team points, and the Tigers were only 4.5 points behind Lehigh for second place.