Jimenez to be inducted into Mountaineer Sports Hall of Fameby Hot Off The Press (Release) on Sep. 26, 2013, under Press Releases
Wrestler Ernie Jimenez will be inducted into the Western State Colorado University Mountaineer Sports Hall of Fame at the induction ceremony and banquet on Oct. 11 at the Fred Field Western Heritage Center in Gunnison.
Jimenez, a wrestler at Western State, grew up in Tucson, Ariz. and attended Pueblo High School. Not only did Jimenez excel as a wrestler, he was also an excellent student at Pueblo. Jimenez was a member of the National Honor Society, Math, Engineering and Science Achievement Club (M.E.S.A. Club) and Gifted and Talented Education Club (G.A.T.E. Club).
As a wrestler, Jimenez was a three year starter and was twice named Pueblo High School Outstanding Wrestler. As a junior, Jimenez finished fourth at state and was the Pueblo Pride State Wrestler award recipient. In his senior season, Jimenez finished with a 25-3 record and was third in state.
“In 18 years of coaching I never coached anyone as mentally tough as Ernie,” Athletic Director Dr. Greg Waggoner wrote in his nomination letter. “Ernie Jimenez is a special individual, special person and a very special Mountaineer.”
Jimenez came to Western in 1986 and had an instant impact on the wrestling program. In just his first season as a Mountaineer, was the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference runner-up in his weight class and became a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All-American, finishing fifth at nationals.
After sitting out the 1987-88 season, Jimenez returned to Western as a co-captain and was crowned RMAC Champion the following three seasons. He returned to the national tournament the following two seasons placing third as a junior. The next season, Jimenez helped lead the Mountaineers to an RMAC title, finished fifth at nationals and earned his third All-American award, becoming only the third Mountaineer wrestler to earn three All-American titles.
In his career, Jimenez set the Western State record in career falls with 48 and was one overtime victory away from becoming the first Western wrestler to become a four-time All-American. Jimenez also showed prowess in the classroom, twice being named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) NAIA All-Academic team.
Jimenez went on to be an assistant coach at Western upon graduating and has been working in Utah since 2002 for Avent, Inc. as a Logistics Team Planner and most recently as a Production planner at Merit Medical.
“Every time I’m at Western, I get to looking at the pictures of the WSC greats,” former Western wrestling assistant coach Ty Tatham said in his nomination letter. “And when you look at Ernie’s picture, you see a great wrestler but more importantly you see someone who was great for his program, great for his institution and great for the sport of wrestling.”