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Joe Russell, Head Wrestling Coach - George Mason University

Joe Russell was named the ninth head wrestling coach in George Mason history in July 2011. He arrived in Fairfax following an outstanding career as an assistant at the University of Minnesota.

In his first year as head coach, Russell guided the Patriots to a 6-17 record, an improvement on Mason's winless season the year before. Russell also coached Mendbagana Tovuujav and Vincent Rodriquez to a bid into the NCAA National Tournament and Tovuujav to a CAA Championship in the 197 weight class.

Russell has assisted in coaching three NCAA championship teams, 11 individual national champions, six Big Ten title teams, 31 individual conference champions and 84 All-America honorees since joining the University of Minnesota wrestling staff in 1995. As the leader of the Golden Gophers' recruiting efforts, Russell established Minnesota's place among the nation's elite.  He leaves the program after 17 years on the bench as an assistant, the last four as head assistant coach.

"The search committee was extremely impressed with Joe Russell throughout the entire process," said Dan Wotring, wrestling alumni and member of the search committee. "His experience is unmatched as a longtime assistant at one of the best programs in the country, as a top recruiter, as a leader for the student-athletes he has coached, and the ability to bring together alumni and run all phases of a program. I want to congratulate Tom O'Connor on putting together a great process and making a great decision; the future is bright for Mason wrestling."

In June of 2007, Russell was presented with the Medal of Courage from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.  The Medal of Courage is presented annually to a wrestler or former wrestler who has overcome what appeared to be insurmountable challenges, which may be physical, mental or other handicaps making his or her achievements all the more uplifting.  In 1985, a horrifying motorcycle accident left Russell partially paralyzed on the left side of his body.  He spent three weeks in a drug-induced coma and the process of recovery was long and grueling, but he recovered fully and has not let his physical challenges stop him from achieving greatness both on and off the mat.
Russell also coached with the Minnesota Storm Junior World and University teams. Under Russell's tutelage, the Storm won four FILA Junior National Team Championships in both freestyle and Greco-Roman since 1996, with their last freestyle title coming in 2004.  He also led the Storm to a second-place finish at the 1997, '98 and '99 University National Championships.

An ambassador of the sport, Russell conducted a week-long clinic for enlisted personnel and their children at the U.S. Naval Base in Sasebo, Japan in 2005.  Russell's coaching career has also featured a number of stints with the U.S. national teams.  In the summer of 2004, he coached the U.S. Junior Team at the Junior Pan American Championships in Venezuela. Russell was joined by three former Golden Gophers - Roger Kish, Mack Reiter and C.P. Schlatter.  All three earned gold medals and Reiter was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler.  Russell also coached Team USA at the Junior Pan American Championships in 2002.

In 1998, he served as the coach of Team USA in a world freestyle dual versus Germany.  Also in 1998, he was selected as the coach for the USA Wrestling Tour de Monde team in Hungary. Russell coached Team USA in another world freestyle dual meet versus Cuba in 1999 and went on to coach the U.S. 17-and-under team at the Cadet World Championships in August 1999 in Denmark.  For his efforts, Russell was voted the 1999 USA Wrestling Person of the Year for the University and FILA Junior Age Divisions.  In the summer of 2000, Russell was selected to coach the U.S. Junior Team at the 2000 Pan American Championships in Peru.  In 2001, he coached a team of USA All-Stars in the First Annual Utah Greco-Roman Challenge in Sandy, Utah.

A graduate of Gresham High School in Gresham, Ore., Russell was a double champion at the Junior Nationals as a junior in high school. He was an Espoir National Champion and place winner at the Espoir World Championships. Russell claimed several youth national titles as well as two World School Boy championships. He also won two state high school titles in Oregon, compiling a 90-1 overall record.

Russell wrestled at Minnesota from 1988-92. In his senior season, he served as team captain, was named to the Academic All-Big Ten team and was the winner of the team's Dean Fraser Most Courageous Wrestler award.  He also competed for Athletes in Action on a summer tour to Australia and New Zealand.

Russell earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1992 and completed his juris doctorate in the spring of 1995.  He is a licensed attorney and completed his master in sports management in December of 2006.  Also in his time as Minnesota, he has taught within the kinesiology department as well as directed studies courses.

Russell and his wife, Sadie, have a son Taft.

Israel Silva, Head Coach - Patriot Elite Wrestling Club

After joining the George Mason wrestling coaching staff as an interim assistant coach for the 2014-15 season, Israel Silva will remain on the staff as head assistant coach for 2015-16.
Prior to Mason, Silva joined the South Dakota State wrestling coaching staff in the spring of 2012. Silva brought enthusiasm, intensity and international wrestling experience to the Jackrabbit program.

Silva’s second year on campus saw the Jacks go 6-8 overall, including a 3-2 Western Wrestling Conference dual mark and had three wrestlers qualify for the NCAA Wrestling Championships.

In his first year as assistant coach at SDSU, Silva helped lead the team to a 5-12 dual record, 1-4 Western Wrestling Conference record and fifth in the conference standings. The team qualified one wrestler for the NCAA Championships via the West Regional.

Silva served as an assistant coach at the Northwest Wrestling Regional Training Center in Corvallis, Ore., for the past three years. The NWRTC is an Olympic-level regional training center that provides services for senior-level athletes to achieve national and international success. The majority of his time was spent with student-athletes at Oregon State University.

Prior to his time at the NWRTC, Silva was a volunteer assistant under Bono at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga for three seasons. A two-year starter for the Mocs, Silva earned a degree in sociology. He claimed the Southern Conference heavyweight title as a senior and was part of the Mocs’ SoCon team championship in 2006.

Silva put together an impressive post-collegiate career on the international wrestling stage, as well. He is a four-time World Team Member for Mexico, three-time Freestyle Pan American medalist and 2012 Olympic alternate over seven years of international experience.

Before wrestling at UTC, Silva was a two-time Junior College All-American at North Idaho College. He placed second at the national tournament his sophomore year and was third as a freshman. Silva led the team to the Junior College National Championship in 2002.

A native of Marysville, Wash., Silva was a four-time state qualifier at Pilchuck High School. He captured the state title his junior season, finished as the state runner-up his senior year and placed sixth as a sophomore

Tom Carr, Assistant Coach - Patriot Elite Wrestling Club

Assistant coach Tom Carr enters his first year with the Patriot Elite Wrestling Club. Carr comes to Mason after serving as the head assistant coach at Minot State University for the 2011-12 season and has been involved in many different wrestling clubs and organizations, bringing a wealth of experience to the Mason program.

Before coaching at MSU, Carr was the assistant coach at Bucknell University for two years. Carr guided five nationally ranked wrestlers, three All-American finishers and six NCAA Division I qualifiers. He also built the team merchandise line and served on the EIWA tournament planning committee.

Carr also served as the administrative assistant for the Michigan State wrestling team for two years prior to his position at MSU. He was involved in all aspects of operating a NCAA Division I program competing in the Big 10. He managed webcasts, marketing and promotions, merchandising, fundraising, and match day preparations.