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Ray is leading the Cougar in a new era, competing in the Southern Conference (SoCon) for the first time during the 2012-13 season. SIUE is fully eligible for all postseason events, including the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
The last four seasons under Ray has been building blocks for SIUE's future. The Cougars face a difficult schedule with 25 dual meets. SIUE has four Big Ten competitors on the schedule. And the SoCon regular season has the Cougars facing dual meets with Appalachian State, Campbell, Chattanooga, Citadel, Davidson, Gardner-Webb, and VMI culminating with the SoCon Championships in Lexington, Va., March 9.
SIUE competed for the final time last season at the NCWA National Championships, placing seventh and collecting its third individual national champion. In dual meets, the Cougars have posted a 16-51-1 record during the move to Division I.
Prior to coming to SIUE, Ray was the head wrestling coach at Montana State University-Northern for 12 years. In 2012, Ray was honored as a member of the Hall of Fame at MSU-Northern.
In his time at MSU-Northern, Ray produced 85 All-Americans and 21 national champions from 1993-2005. Ray led the Northern Lights to four NAIA national team titles and was named the NAIA National Coach of the Year four times. He was also named the Northern Region Coach of the Year 10 of his 12 years. While coaching at MSU-Northern, Coach Ray's wrestlers received the "Outstanding Wrestler" Award six times at the national championships, and he had a wrestler place in the prestigious Midlands Tournament six times.
Ray coached one of only six individual four-time national champions in the 58-year history of the NAIA Championships. In 2004 his team tied a 46-year-old record with five individual national champions. One of Ray's most thrilling achievements was the development of 2004 Dan Hodge Trophy-winner Emmett Willson. The Dan Hodge Trophy, often referred to as the "Heisman of college wrestling," is given to the most outstanding wrestler of the year. The 2004 season was the first and only time a non-NCAA Division I wrestler has received the Dan Hodge Trophy.
Ray, who holds a career dual meet record of 158-96-5, served three years as the tournament director and coordinator of the NAIA National Wrestling Championships in Great Falls, MT from 2002-2004. He also served as the president of the NAIA National Wrestling Coaches Association from 2001 to 2003 and as chair for the NAIA national team and individual rankings for six years.
Ray served two years as an assistant coach at Simpson College and two years as a graduate assistant under coach Dan Gable at Iowa. He earned a bachelor's degree in education from Simpson College in 1990 and a master's degree in exercise science in 1992 from Iowa.
In 2008, Ray received his administrative endorsement from the University of Montana. He began his collegiate career as a wrestler for the University of Iowa and then wrestled one year for Edinboro University. Ray was a Division I and Division II All-American in 1986, finishing second at the Division II tournament and third at the Division I tournament. He was 37-7 his final season at Edinboro.
Ray had a successful Freestyle and Greco Roman career; twice he was a Junior National Greco Champion and Freestyle runner-up. He finished fourth in the U.S. Greco National Championships in 1982 and 1983, and at the age of 21 he finished fourth in the 1984 U.S. National Greco Olympic Trials.
Ray is married and has four daughters: Kathryn, Alexiss, Michelle and Brooklyn; a son: Taylor and one granddaughter: Aleya. His wife, Kim, is employed with the Edwardsville School District.