LA GRANDE — A jury of his peers elected Eastern Oregon University’s Dustyn Azure as the 2020-21 Cascade Collegiate Conference Men’s Wrestling Coach of the Year.
The conference on Tuesday, Feb. 23, announced Azure’s fellow head men’s wrestling coaches voted on him to earn the honor. CCC Commissioner Robert Cashell in a written statement congratulated Azure.
“This has indeed been a challenging season for all of our teams,” Cashell stated, “and Dustyn has done a wonderful job with his team, as well as serving as our conference and national rater.”
This is Azure’s fifth year at the helm for EOU, and five Mountaineers qualified for the NAIA National Championship, scheduled for March 5-6 in Park City, Kansas — the second-most in the CCC. Under Azure, EOU boasts a 34-34 dual record, including an impressive 15-5 mark last season.
According to EOU, Azure in the past four seasons produced four individual All-Americans, two top-20 finishes at the NAIA National Tournament, two top-10 NWCA Scholar All-American team awards, along with six Individual Scholar All-Americans.
EOU is Azure’s first head coaching assignment at the collegiate level. He came to Eastern from the highly successful wrestling program at Montana State University-Northern, where he spent four years as the head assistant wrestling coach, along with being the strength and conditioning coach for the Lights.
In addition to his coaching duties, Azure served as the senior admissions specialist for the university, which allowed him to recruit potential MSU-Northern students.
Azure’s time with the Lights was action-packed, according to EOU. He assisted in the development of 14 NAIA individual All-American performances, capturing a second-place finish, two third-place finishes and an eighth-place finish at the NAIA Wrestling National Championships. Azure in 2015 also helped MSU-Northern secure the 15th-best Non-Division I recruiting class in the country, according to USA Wrestling Magazine.
Prior to his time at MSU-Northern, Azure was a teacher and the head high school wrestling coach for Ronan School District in Ronan, Montana. At the prep level, Azure produced six top-10 finishes from 2006-2012, five state champions and one academic All-American. Four of the state champions Azure coached went on to become All-Americans at the collegiate level. Azure also was the National Wrestling Coaches Association 2010-11 Montana Head Coach of the Year.
As a student-athlete, Azure wrestled for the Lights and was a two-time NAIA All-American, placing fourth in 2000 and sixth in 2005. He graduated from MSU-Northern in 2006 with a bachelor of arts degree in K-12 health and physical education before completing a masters of science in education, instruction and learning.
Azure and his wife, Jennifer, who is a teacher in the La Grande School District, have four daughters — Kierstyn, Sydnee, Mackenzee, and Hallie.
The Mountaineers head to the Midwest in two weeks after having competed in one event during the strange 2020-21 regular season.
EOU competed at the Nampa Collegiate Invite in Idaho back on Feb. 6 and each of the five qualifiers — along with EOU’s alternate — posted solid results, with a combined 19-0 record heading into nationals.