Justin Ruiz enters his second season of coaching at Utah Valley in 2013-14.
During his first season of coaching at UVU (2012-13), Ruiz helped three wrestlers qualify for the NCAA Championships -- which matched a program high. Ruiz, who works specifically with the upper weights, also helped UVU's first-ever heavyweight grappler make the NCAA Championships in Adam Fager.
Ruiz comes to UVU on the heels of a long, decorated wrestling career that featured a bronze medal at the 2005 World Championships.
Ruiz is very familiar with Williams as he was one of Williams' pupils at the club level during high school and this is the second time that Ruiz has joined Williams' staff as he previously coached at UVU for a short time during the 2007-08 season. That year Ruiz left to continue his distinguished wrestling career but this time the three-time Utah State Champion at Taylorsville High School (Taylorsville, Utah) returns to Orem after recently retiring from competition.
"After having Greg as a coach it will be nice to be back with him and work with him on another level," said Ruiz. "It's close to where I grew up and I'm happy to be back in Utah. I think there's a lot of great talent in this state and a lot of wrestlers leave Utah for college. I'd like to see those kids stay here and show the country how competitive we are."
"Justin has a very likeable personality and brings a really great attitude into our room," said Williams. "He wrested for me at the club level so he knows my style and it's easy for us to be on the same page. The experience he brings with his international level of competition will definitely help our program."
Besides winning three state titles at Taylorsville High, Ruiz was also a three-time ASICS Junior National Champion, a three-time Fila Junior Nationals Champion and a High School National Champion. He also was a member of the Fila Junior World Team two times and the recipient of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award in 1998.
After high school he redshirted a year at the University of Nebraska before serving an LDS mission in Concepcion, Chile. Upon returning from his mission, he spent the next two seasons as an All-American wrestler at Nebraska.
Ruiz then made the transition to the international ranks, where he went on to become a seven-time U.S. Open National Champion, six-time U.S. World Team member, 10-time U.S. National Team member, two-time Olympic alternate, two-time US Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Year, four-time Pan American Champion, a World Cup Silver Medalist and a member of the first and only U.S. Greco-Roman Team to win a World Championship (2007).
Ruiz resides in Orem and enjoys spending time with his wife, Sarah, and their two daughters Brinklee and Bristol. He and Sarah married in 2005. For more information visit JustinRuiz.com.