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Former Sunnyside star Ortiz out as ASU wrestling coach

Former Sunnyside wrestler Thom Ortiz has been dismissed after eight seasons as the Arizona State University wrestling coach.

Ortiz, who was an All-American wrestler for the Sun Devils, posted a 79-60-1 coaching record at ASU. His teams produced 17 All-Americans, including fellow Sunnyside graduate Eric Larkin, who was an assistant coach this past season after earning All-American honors in both college and while at Sunnyside.

“A lot of Sunnyside kids have gone through that program and Thom has done a great job there,” said Sunnyside coach Bobby DeBerry, whose sone Kyle, has three years remaining as an ASU wrestler.

“Right now, I’m hoping everything turns out best for all involved. I know Thom will be coaching again. I talked to him (Wednesday) and he’s most concerned right now about the kids and making sure they stick together and get their educations.”

In May 2008, ASU announced it would be cutting the wrestling program. Ten days later, the school reversed that decision when boosters of the program came up with enough money to fully endow the program. Ortiz played a large roll in organizing the fundraising effort.

“I want to thank Thom Ortiz for his eight years of service and dedication to the Sun Devil program,” ASU Senior Associate Athletic Director Don Bocchi said on the school’s Web site said. “It is never easy to see one of your own leave, but we believe our program can return to the top of the national standings, as well as the Pac-10 Conference, and that begins immediately as we start our search for Thom’s replacement.”

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