Keith Gavin, 2008 NCAA Division I wrestling champ for University of Pittsburgh and current US national freestyle team member, will be joining the staff of the University of Virginia wrestling program, Cavalier head coach Steve Garland announced Wednesday.
Gavin brings collegiate and freestyle wrestling accomplishments, as well as coaching experience, to his new position as assistant coach at Virginia. The former Pitt wrestler served as an assistant at his college alma mater from April 2008 to August 2009, working directly with the middle to upper weight classes.
From 2003-08, Gavin wrestled for the Pitt Panthers, earning NCAA All-American honors in 2007 and 2008, both times making it to the finals. After being a runner-up in 2007 (falling to future mixed martial arts champ Ben Askren of Missouri), Gavin won the 174-pound title at the 2008 NCAAs with a 4-2 win over Michigan’s Steve Luke in the finals. Gavin complete his senior season with a perfect 27-0 record, compiling an overall mark of 120-37. The Factoryville, Pa. native earned a number of honors, including EWL Wrestler of the Year in 2007 and 2008, and is now an inductee in the Eastern Wrestling League Hall of Fame.
After graduating from Pitt in 2008, Gavin has focused on his freestyle wrestling career. He has been a member of the U.S. national team for each of the last five years, and is currently ranked the No. 1 wrestler at 86 kilos/189 pounds. Gavin placed third at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials and then won U.S. national championships in 2013 and 2014. He also competed for the United States at the 2013 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
In addition to his actual on-the-mat career, Gavin has a role in the much-anticipated movie “Foxcatcher” opening in theaters November 14. In the movie, Gavin is a Bulgarian wrestler who wrestles Olympic gold medalist Mark Schultz, played by Channing Tatum. Much of the film was filmed in the Pittsburgh area, including at Petersen Events Center on the Pitt campus.
"We are thrilled to welcome Keith Gavin as an assistant coach," said UVa head coach Steve Garland. "Not only was Keith an NCAA champion, and thus has a very high level of wrestling knowledge himself, he also has been mentored by some of the best coaches in the nation. He has traveled the world learning and wrestling, and I am excited to have our kids now learning from him."
"I am very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Virginia wrestling program," Gavin said. "Coach Garland and his staff have done a great job building this program, and I look forward to doing everything I can to contribute to future success at UVa."