Matt Lindland named USA Wrestling's Greco-Roman coach

Matt Lindland of the United States shows off

Matt Lindland of the United States shows off his silver medal during medal ceremonies following the 76 kg Greco-Roman wrestling final at the Sydney Olympic Games on Sept. 26, 2000. (Credit: AP)

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USA Wrestling has hired Olympic silver medalist and former mixed martial arts star Matt Lindland as its new Greco-Roman coach.

The national sanctioning body announced Tuesday that Lindland will succeed Steve Fraser, who coached the Greco-Roman program for nearly 20 years.

Lindland won silver at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and also took silver at the world championships the following year. He later became a successful athlete and coach in MMA before coaching the 2013 U.S. Greco-Roman World Team in Budapest.

USA Wrestling executive director Rich Bender said Lindland became the "obvious choice" to lead the program after an extensive search to replace Fraser.

"As one of our greatest warriors in U.S. Greco-Roman history, Matt will bring that same tenacity and drive to recruiting, preparing, and leading our best and brightest into World and Olympic competition," Bender said.

Lindland said his ultimate goal is to make the U.S. Greco-Roman team the best in the world again.

The Americans have a long way to go.

The U.S. failed to win a medal in Greco-Roman competition at the recent London Olympics, and it finished just ninth in the World Cup in Tehran last week.

But a fresh approach might do wonders for the scuffling program as it attempts to catch up to established world powers such as Russia and Iran.

"My goal is to win Olympic medals and prepare our athletes to execute at the most important tournaments," Lindland said. "When I get into the position, I will have a better idea of what goals to set for this Olympic cycle and into the future."

Lindland is the second new coach hired by USA Wrestling this month.

Bruce Burnett, the U.S. freestyle coach from 1993-2000, was brought back on May 6 to lead that program through the Rio Games in 2016.

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