Lords back to train for Olympics; Ray inks Iowa recruit Thompson
By Kim Staudinger
An Olympic bronze medalist and two-time world champion wrestler has signed on as an assistant coach of the Lights.
Terry Brands won the bronze medal in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Brands also was a world champion wrestler in 1993 and 1995 and a two-time NCAA Division I national champion.
Brands has been talking about coming to Montana for the last three years, but Montana State University-Northern wrestling coach David Ray says it was not easy getting Brands to come here.
"We talked again last December and it has been a long process from the last week of April until now," he said. "He verbally committed to me over the phone Monday night."
Ray said Brands intends to get his master's degree at Northern in counseling education.
"Terry wants to have his own program someday," Ray said.
The addition of Brands also attracted Lee Fullhart to come to Northern as an assistant coach. Fullhart is a four-time Division I All-American and also a Division I national champion.
"Lee wants Terry to be his freestyle coach to train for the 2004 Olympics," Ray said.
Former Northern wrestler Turk Lords also has decided to come back and once again be a part of Ray's very successful program, this time as an assistant coach.
"Turk is coming back to train (for the Olympics) at 213 pounds to train with Lee," Ray said.
Oddly enough, Fullhart beat Lords in his sophomore year 7-4 at the Midlands Championships.
"Turk has an excellent shot at going for it and making the 2004 Olympic team," Ray said. "Lee also has a very good chance to make it.
"They bring intensity and a whole different level to my team. They will see how these guys practice and that will be good for them," he said.
Ray said both Fullhart and Lords will have to go to the Olympic Training Center at Colorado Springs, Colo., two to three times a year in preparation for the Olympic trials. The Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club will be paying for all of Fullhart and Lords' travel expenses.
Ray said both Lords and Fullhart will be volunteer assistant coaches. Due to a shortage of money in the budget, Ray has not had a paid assistant coach for the last eight years and has relied soley on student assistants who are finishing up their fifth year of school. Brands will be the first paid assistant under Ray.
"My wrestlers fund-raised for this position," Ray said about Brands. "This will be the first paid assistant's position, but Northern is not paying for any of it."
Ray also announced Monday the addition of recruit Andrew Thompson, a transfer student from the University of Iowa.
Thompson is 5 foot 6 and plans to wrestle at either 125 or 133 pounds.
"He is very talented and can offer the team a lot if he produces," Ray said. "If he gets on track academically, he will be a huge benefit to the program."
Thompson is a special education and physical education major.