photo courtesy of CSUB athletics
Yesterday afternoon, CSU Bakersfield announced that their head wrestling coach, Manny Rivera, was stepping down after four years at the helm of the Roadrunner program. Assistant coach Luke Smith will assume the interim role until a coaching search is completed. The Bakersfield athletic department stated that Rivera will remain on staff until the end of October.
Coach Rivera led the Roadrunner program for four seasons and sent 15 wrestlers to the NCAA tournament during his tenure. Four of those wrestlers were crowned Pac-12 champions. Bakersfield will have two student-athletes on its 2020-21 roster with previous NCAA experience in Josh Loomer and Dom Ducharme.
Smith is getting ready to start his third year with the Bakersfield program. Prior to his arrival, Luke was an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan before the program was cut. He has also served as an assistant coach at Old Dominion and his alma mater, Central Michigan. While competing at Central Michigan, Smith qualified for the NCAA Championships on four occasions, winning a pair of MAC titles. As a sophomore, Luke was seeded 11th in the nation and made it to the NCAA Round of 12.
Earlier this offseason, CSU Bakersfield announced the addition of Steve Bleise and Matt Williams to the Roadrunner coaching staff.