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Ramos to direct GAC wrestling

When Cliff Ramos resigned as Collins Hill's head wrestling coach last month, he said he still wanted to stay involved with the sport in some capacity.

The hall of fame coach found a way at Greater Atlanta Christian, which announced Monday that Ramos is the Spartans' new director of wrestling.

Ramos will oversee the Norcross private school's high school and middle school wrestling programs from a position he described as being similar to a general manager in professional sports.

"It's a lot of neat things. This will allow me to be in charge, but not be a head coach," Ramos said. "The Christian environment was very appealing to me and I don't have to worry about all the details of being a head coach."

Jeff Harsh will remain the Spartans' head wrestling coach along with his assistant Bob Lofton. Lofton's father, Jim, hired Ramos in the early 1980s at East Hall and he coached Bob in wrestling.

"I know that with the wealth of wrestling knowledge Coach Ramos has our wrestlers will be able to reach that next level," Harsh said. "I know that I have an opportunity to learn from one of the best coaches in the country on a daily basis. I look forward to growing as a coach and person. What I admire most about Coach Ramos is his integrity and faith."

Ramos' job duties will include running summer camps, in-season practices and duties at meets and tournaments. It's a job that's far less time-consuming as he enters the early stages of retirement.

"We were looking for a dreamer, a director, a leader who could help us grow our program," GAC athletic director Tim Vick said. "Cliff has that kind of vision and the spiritual focus that will advance GAC's mission of touching lives for Christ. He will be the person who will be responsible for not only providing skill development for all of our wrestlers, but also the one providing the kind of guidance and direction to our program to make it excellent in every way."

Ramos has 34 years coaching experience and is a member of the Georgia Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. He built Collins Hill into a state power during his 16 years at the Suwanee school. Ramos has more than 600 dual meet victories and has coached 31 state champions and 111 state placers. He led Collins Hill to its third straight Class AAAAA dual and traditional state championships this season, giving him nine titles overall.

Ramos will try to help turn around a GAC program that has not had much success. The Spartans have never had a state champion and have placed in the top 25 in Class AA three out of the last five seasons.

"They haven't had a lot of success. But I'm really impressed with their administration and Tim Vick with what they are trying to do in their sports," Ramos said. "And not just in wrestling. Some of their sports are really good and I'm hoping to be a part of that."