ST. PARIS – Legendary Graham alumnus and longtime wrestling coach Jeff Jordan has retired, according to information released by Graham Local Schools on Thursday afternoon.
Jordan announced his decision to retire to his wrestlers and school officials this week.
“Over the course of 25 years, Graham High School has been fortunate to have a unique, nationally-recognized wrestling program led by a unique leader,” said Graham Superintendent Kirk Koennecke. “Jeff Jordan took this program to elite status through hard work, dedication and a commitment to developing excellent student-athletes. There has never been an equivalent program in OHSAA sports history in terms of producing individual state champions and team championships. This is the best, period. We are grateful for all Jeff has done for the Graham Local Schools and our school community.”
Jordan began his coaching career at Graham as an assistant under Ron McCunn in 1994. He took over the program in 2001.
A Graham alum, Coach Jordan has been with the program for over 25 years and his team has won the past 18 straight state titles.
“It has been an honor and privilege to have coached at Graham High School for the past 25 years,” Jordan said. “My first state champion was Dan Bair in 1995 and my last was my youngest son Rocky Jordan in 2018. I’ve always told people that I have the greatest job in the world.”
Jordan was himself a 4-time state champion in high school, and went on to wrestle at Wisconsin, where he was an All-American college wrestler. He was also a college coach at Purdue before his return to Graham.
On his decision to retire, Coach Jordan stated: “Discussing it over with my wife over the past couple of weeks, I’ve decided it is time for me to retire. I am going to miss the epic battles between Graham and St. Ed’s, the Iron Man Tournament, and every March, the OHSAA State Wrestling Tournament, where our Graham student-athletes put it all on the line to win a state title. However, what I am going to miss most is building the relationships with the student-athletes.”
“Graham has been blessed with a coach that has only wanted the best for Graham and the student-athletes over the past 25 years,” said Graham Athletic Director Jay Lewis. “It will be hard to find a team in the country with as much success as this program has had both as a team and for individual wrestlers. We have to say thank you to coach Jordan for all the lives he has impacted over this time. Our community is known for our wrestling program. Coach Jordan has been one of the most consistent pieces of the program. He champions Graham, and has instilled in our program a great sense of pride for our school, discipline of oneself for academics and wrestling, and a professional work ethic and dedication matched by few.”
Board President Ryan Pine said, “Coach Jordan has successfully coached a dynasty program that created a unified, special atmosphere among athletes and community. His team is family to him, and the Graham community takes ownership in the fact that he was home grown.”
Graham won the Division I team wrestling title over St. Edward, for the first time in school history, in 2018. They were repeat team champions at the Division II state duals as well.
“I want to thank Graham for giving me the opportunity to do what I’ve always wanted to do,” Coach Jordan said. “I also want to thank the community, parents, and all my assistant coaches for helping and supporting me in our journey to win state titles as well as building character in our student-athletes. To all the wrestlers I’ve coached, thank you for the great memories we’ve shared in training and sacrificing to reach our goals. Most, importantly, I want to thank my wife Amy and three sons Bo, Micah, and Rocky, for sacrificing so much for me to do what I truly love to do.”
Graham officials declined during Thursday’s retirement announcement process to outline the replacement guidelines for Jordan, citing a desire to maintain “respect” for the coach. Koennecke told the Urbana Daily Citizen that a separate statement about Jordan’s replacement will be issued at a later time.
Information for this report provided by Graham Local Schools.