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Bethany College promotes Cody Garcia to head wrestling coach

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Cody Garcia, assistant coach at Bethany College, has been promoted to head up its wrestling program, the Kansas-based school announced Wednesday.

Garcia had been named interim head coach in late March after Jacob Marrs announced his resignation. Marrs had been hired as the program’s first coach in February 2011.

"I am very excited that Cody Garcia has accepted our offer to become the second Head Men's Wrestling Coach in the program's history," said Dean of Athletics Dane Pavlovich. "His passion for wrestling, connections to the current team, and relationships with coaches all over the Midwest make this a tremendous situation for both the wrestling program and the Department of Athletics. I look forward to the success that Cody will lead the Swedes to both on and off the mat."

Garcia expressed his excitement in a message posted to the Bethany Swedes Wrestling Facebook page Wednesday afternoon: “Couldn't be more excited and grateful for the opportunity to work with this group and continue to build one of the best programs in the state!”

In the school’s official announcement, Garcia is quoted as saying, "It is truly a blessing for me to get the chance to serve this brotherhood in a new role. They have inspired me to follow this path through their support and trust in me, as well as their commitment to the program. I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to continue to have an active role in encouraging these young men through our shared passion of wrestling."

Prior to coming to Bethany to join the coaching staff of the then-new program in 2011, Garcia built an impressive wrestling resume in the heartland. Cody Garcia was a three-time Kansas state champ at Hutchinson High School, wrestling for his father, Mike. Cody then headed to University of Nebraska-Omaha, the now-defunct wrestling program that was a dominant force in NCAA Division II competition. As a Maverick, Cody Garcia was a two-time NCAA champ (2006, 2008), three-time finalist, and four-time All-American. His teams won NCAA D2 championships in 2005, 2006, 2009, and 2010. He completed his UNO mat career with a 147-18 overall record; 84 of those wins were by pin. Garcia was also a four-time Academic All-American.

Garcia launched his coaching career as a student assistant at Nebraska-Omaha.

Despite being a three-year-old program, Bethany wrestling has enjoyed considerable success. This past season, the Swedes finished 20th at the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) National Championships, where Colby Crank was a finalist in the 149-pound weight class. A total of seven Bethany wrestlers qualified for the 2014 NAIA championships.

Established by Swedish Lutheran immigrants in 1881, Bethany is a four-year, liberal-arts college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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