One of the most accomplished wrestlers in Indiana prep and college history will try to continue his mat excellence outside of a singlet.
Griffith product Angel Escobedo, one of only nine Indiana grapplers to win four state championships, has been named the head coach at his alma mater, Indiana University, where the 2008 national champion was a three-time Big Ten champion and four-time All-American.
"This was a dream of mine when I set out as a coach, to come back here and run this program," Escobedo said in a media release. "It's a huge opportunity and I'm really grateful for it. I'm excited to build this program off of what Duane (Goldman) established and continue to raise the bar."
Escobedo was the associate head coach this season for Goldman, who retired after 26 years. He spent the last three years at Iowa State, where he served as an assistant coach while also competing professionally.
"It's a great opportunity for a young man from the area to show what he can do at the pinnacle of his profession," Merrillville coach David Maldonado said. "Being a Big Ten wrestling coach is not a small job. Angel didn't get where he's at without a good work ethic. He's put in the time and effort and he's getting the chance to reap the benefits of what he's done."
Michael DeLaPena of Merrillville is a freshman at IU and Pirates senior Brandon Streck just committed to the Hoosiers.
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"A big reason is because of my relationship with Angel over the years," Maldonado said. "He's somebody I trust, who's done right by our guys. IU's struggled a little bit and I think Angel's going to make some changes, shake things up a little bit and do good things. I talked to Mikey and he's excited about it.w
After wrapping up his IU career in 2010, Escobedo competed internationally and was a member of Team USA. He was a fifth-place finisher at the 2013 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, and took second at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.
"One of the outstanding wrestlers that Duane brought to IU was Angel, and we are very excited about the future of Indiana Wrestling under his leadership," Indiana Athletic Director Fred Glass said in the release. "With a new state-of-the-art $17 million facility set to open, Angel is the right person to lead the program into this new, exciting era. I think he's someone who will be a great role model and example for our guys."
Escobedo's high school titles came from 2002 to 2005, during which time he compiled a record of 223-1. He is third in career victories, behind only Alex Tsirtsis and Andrae Hernandez, both teammates of Escobedo at Griffith.
"Any time we can have one of our very own as a Big Ten head coach is great for the area and the state of Indiana," Portage coach Leroy Vega said. "Angel will succeed at coaching, recruiting and retaining the top talent in the state of Indiana. As the head coach of Portage High School, he has our full support."