Erik Spjut, a four-year starting wrestler at Virginia Tech, has been hired as an assistant coach for the new women’s and men’s programs at Lyon College, the Arkansas-based school announced Wednesday, July 9.
Lyon, the oldest independent four-year college in Arkansas, announced in July 2013 it would be adding both men’s and women’s wrestling programs, along with plans to resurrect its football program after 62 years, all for the 2014-15 season. A few months later, Kevin Carter was announced as head coach of the mat Scots.
Originally from the Houston area, Spjut (pronounced Spute), was a four-year starter and captain at the Woodlands High School, where he captured three Texas state titles. Spjut then headed east to Blacksburg, Va. to wrestle at Virginia Tech where he was a four-year starter. As a Hokie, Spjut was a two-time NCAA Division I Championships qualifier, posting a 65-51 overall record competing from 125 to 141 pounds. In addition, Spjut was a two-time University Freestyle All-American athlete, placing fourth and eighth. Spjut graduated from Virginia Tech with major in history, and a minor in business leadership in 2014.
Head coach Kevin Carter thinks Spjut is the right candidate to help launch the two new wrestling programs at Lyon.
"I think the biggest contribution Erik will bring is that he's a great technician," Carter said. "He can come in and bring current technique to the program. The fact that he has wrestled in Division I at the college level means that he can brings the things he's learned from Virginia Tech to our wrestling room.
"The other thing I like about him is that he's been a winner at all levels. He understands what it takes to get to a championship level of competition. His sister (Lindsey Spjut of McKendree University) is one of the best wrestlers in the nation. So Erik has been around some of the best wrestlers in the country and also has been associated with great women's programs, as well."
The former Hokie wrestler is eager to launch his collegiate coaching career at a brand-new wrestling program like Lyon.
"It feels really good to be joining the coaching staff at Lyon," Spjut stated. "I'm really excited to get started. I think I can help the program out a lot, coming from a (NCAA) Division I program. I think I can help our wrestlers to succeed both in the classroom and in competition."
Lyon College joins University of the Ozarks, Williams Baptist College, and Ouachita Baptist University as Arkansas-based institutions that have launched wrestling programs in recent years.
Established in 1872, Lyon College is an independent, residential, co-educational, undergraduate liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), according to its official website. The school, located in Batesville, Ark. northeast of the state capital Little Rock, has an enrollment of approximately 600 students. Lyon’s sports programs, the Scots to honor the school's Scottish heritage, compete in NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics).