Russ Cozart, coach of more high school state championship wrestling teams (eight) than any other coach in Florida, returned last weekend from Sofia, Bulgaria, his second silver medal from the World Masters Wrestling Championships.
His medal put him into the U.S.A. Wrestling record book as the most successful masters wrestler in United States history with two gold and two silver medals.
Wrestling at 143 pounds for ages 40-44 he won gold in 1992-93 and his other silver was last year.
"Bulgaria and that area is the center of world wrestling and the competition more than doubled over last year," Cozart said. "It was the toughest competition I have faced, I felt I did good against my peers. Several of the matches in other weights were rematches of past Olympic finals."
As an added honor, Cozart was elected by his teammates to carry the U.S. flag during opening and closing ceremonies.
He defeated two Russians, a pin in 58 seconds and a 10-0 major, and beat an Iranian 3-0 to earn a berth in the final.
His loss was 10-4 to another Iranian.
"The guy who beat me was good, but I think in four matches we would be 2-2," Cozart said.
Cozart recently began another class of teaching the sport as part of the Brandon Adult Community School at Brandon High. He teaches toddlers ages 4-6 from 4-6 p.m. Fridays for $13.80. Beginners classes for ages 7-17 are from 5-7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and intermediates 7-14 5-7 p.m. Mondays and Fridays. The classes for beginners and intermediates are $25.30 for six weeks.