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Jack Spates is the former head wrestling coach at the University of Oklahoma, where he led the Sooners to seven top-10 finishes in the NCAA tournament and one Big 12 Conference championship. Prior to joining Oklahoma in 1993, Spates was the head coach at Cornell University and served as an assistant coach at the United States Military Academy and at the University of Pittsburgh. As a wrestler, Spates was the 1973 NCAA champion at 118 pounds for Slippery Rock University. Spates retired at the conclusion of the 2010–11 season. Spates was born in New York City, but his family moved to Smithtown, New York, where he joined the wrestling team on a dare.
In 2011, Jack Spates stepped down as head coach at the University of Oklahoma in order to pursue ministry. In 2014, Jack endorsed the book "Faith and Wrestling: How the Role of a Wrestler Mirrors the Christian Life" by author Michael Fessler, which in one of its chapters highlights Jack's life, wrestling and coaching career, and his Christian faith. Jack's endorsement reads, “The Bible tells us that believers are transformed by the renewing of their minds. Another way of putting this is … taking into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. This means learning how to think of all of life, including sport, from a biblical perspective. Michael Fessler’s book is drenched in Christian worldview. Those who wrestle with its truths will be richer for it. I wish that I had been able to drink from its wisdom as a young man but am grateful to be able to do so as an old(er) one.”
M. Fessler, Faith and Wrestling: How the Role of a Wrestler Mirrors the Christian Life, (Bloomington, IN: Westbow Press, 2015). - originally published in 2014 with Crossbooks publishing
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