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New London - Coast Guard Academy wrestling head coach Steve Eldridge has announced his retirement after 47 years.
Eldridge, ranked 55th all-time among collegiate wrestling coaches with 314 wins, played football and wrestled at the University of Missouri before coming to the Coast Guard Academy in 1966. Assistant coach Rob McKnabb has been named as the interim coac anmd will make his debut Saturday when the Bears are in the New England Duals an Bridgewater State.
During his 47 years, Eldridge earned four coach of the year honors and led the Bears to five New England team championships. He coached nine All-Americans including two-time National runner-up Chris Fertig (2001) and most recently Nate Giorgio, who placed fourth last season at 125 pounds in 2012.
Eldridge also served as the men's cross country coach for 43 seasons, retiring after the 2011 season. He coached four All-Americans in cross country and led the Bears to the NCAA Division III Championships in both 1989 and 2001.
He was the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2010. He was inducted into the Coast Guard Academy Hall of Fame in 1989 and the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division III Hall of Fame in 1995. Eldridge was the Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award recipient by the NWCA Hall of Fame last year.
"We wish Mr. Eldridge all the best in retirement. We appreciate his many years of service to the Academy," said Rear Admiral Sandra Stosz, Academy Superintendent.