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Former Mitchell, SDSU wrestling star Tyler Jones passing on his passion for wrestling at Legends of Gold

Jones was a standout in high school, placing five times in states for the Kernels from 1994 to 1998 while winning two state championships before a successful career at SDSU

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Newest Legends of Gold wrestling coach Tyler Jones (center) poses with his sons Slaton (left) and Axl (right) at the 2022 South Dakota Wrestling Coaches Association State Tournament on Sunday, March 27 at the Premier Center in Sioux Falls.
Courtesy of Tyler Jones

BERESFORD – The staff at the Legends of Gold National Training Center has added a familiar face to its stacked lineup of coaches.

Tyler Jones, a former Mitchell Kernel wrestler who was a two-time South Dakota state champion, made his return to South Dakota wrestling when he joined the full-time coaching staff in Beresford in early February.

Jones was a standout in high school, placing five times in states for the Kernels from 1994 to 1998 and winning state championships at 140 pounds in 1997 and 171 pounds in 1998. He had a 159-14 record in his high school career and led the Kernels to four straight team titles from 1995 through 1998.

Jones was recognized for his stellar prep career in February 2014 as an inductee into the South Dakota High School Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

After high school, Jones was a four-time All-American, a two-time NCAA finalist, a two-time North Central Conference Champion and had a 102-17 in his career at South Dakota State.

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"Wrestling is just one of those sports where you pass on the knowledge to the next generation," Jones said. "I think wrestlers just understand the moral code of passing on the knowledge and love of the sport to the next generation."

Terry Pack, the CEO and International Development Academy Director of Legends of Gold, knew of Jones as a wrestler in college and said his familiarity with Jones as a wrestler made him an easy choice to join the staff.

“I knew about him and his success in college since I was coaching (Neosho Community College) at the same time,” Pack said. “I knew about his abilities as an athlete way back then.”

A combination of Jones’s desire to return to the sport he loved while also finding the proper training facility for his sons, 12-year-old Slaton and 10-year-old Axl, led Jones to pursue LOG and vice versa.

"My kids got involved with wrestling and obviously I have a passion for wrestling," Jones said. "That just naturally converted into, not only wanting to help my own kids, but helping any kid that wants to learn how to wrestle."

“With his sons getting a little older and taking wrestling a little more serious, Tyler was looking for some additional training options for his boys,” Pack said. “He came down, he liked what he saw, we obviously liked what we saw in Tyler as well, so we decided to reach out to him.”

While Jones is excited to be back in wrestling and to start coaching the younger generation of wrestlers, part of the draw of Legends of Gold was the trust he had in the whole coaching staff to allow others to train his sons instead.

"They look at me not so much as a coach, they look at me as dad," Jones said. "The beauty of Legends of Gold is that I can coach a really good group of kids, and I can also have the confidence that my kids are getting great coaching."

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Legends of Gold’s facility in Beresford is the national headquarters of the organization, and the results the training has produced are unquestionable. In 2021 alone, wrestlers who trained in either freestyle or Greco styles with LOG accounted for 26 state championships, six runner-ups and 10 top-eight finishes.

Coaches like Jones, who can take wrestling on as a full-time coach and dedicate their time to the development of their athletes, are what make LOG so successful.

“All of our coaches are full-time coaches, so this is what we do all day,” Pack said. “Other times, people have other responsibilities … we bring a different touch to it that (the athletes) couldn’t get anywhere else.”

Since Jones has started with LOG, he said his perception has changed of the entire program, and wants parents to understand that everyone is welcome, no matter what level of wrestling knowledge you are starting with.

"I hear a lot of people say, 'I want to take my kid there, I just don't think he is good enough,'" Jones said. "But no. There is plenty of workout partners for every kid at every level."

Related Topics: WRESTLINGYOUTH SPORTS
Dylan is sports reporter for the Mitchell Republic. A native of Michigan, he graduated from Central Michigan University with a bachelors of science in journalism before joining the sports staff in March 2022. He covers 35 high schools along with NAIA's Dakota Wesleyan, which are all within Mitchell Republic's 17 county coverage area. Before joining the Mitchell Republic, Dylan covered sports in Michigan for a year, coached baseball for the Lakeland High School freshman team in White Lake, Mich. and played baseball and basketball in high school.
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