AZTEC – The Aztec High School wrestling teams will have a new man in charge when the school year begins later this summer.
Levi Stout, a former state champion wrestler as a student athlete at Aztec High School and former head coach at Piedra Vista, was named to take over the program this week.
Stout, who previously served on the coaching staff at Dakota Wesleyan University before coaching at Piedra Vista from 2002 through 2014, will take over as head coach of one of the most dominant programs in New Mexico prep sports history.
Stout will replace Herb Stinson, who officially stepped down shortly after the conclusion of the wrestling season last winter. Under Stinson’s watch, the Tigers won 13 state team championships from 1982 through 2000, and again in 2022.
In all, the Aztec High School wrestling team has won a combined 20 state titles dating back to 1963.
“I grew up in this small community alongside this historic program, and I’ve watched the program and the community go through the highest of highs and lowest of lows,” Stout said. “It will be impossible to fill any shoes but I am committed to building a solid foundation and doing all of the little things correctly.”
As a head coach at Piedra Vista, Stout led the Panthers to four state championships from 2011 through 2014 and had multiple individual state champions, including Anthony Juckes, one of only seven prep wrestlers in state history to win five consecutive individual state titles.
The Tigers finished third in the state last season in the Class 4A state championship meet, behind Belen and district rival Bloomfield.
“I'm more than satisfied that (Stout) will carry on the tradition of Aztec wrestling,” said Stinson. “He has had success in the past and the last few years he has done all of the take down work in our room. When he was a state champion for me in 2000 he went undefeated and was a true leader in our room. He takes a lot of pride being called a wrestling coach.”
In addition to the success of the boys wrestling program, Aztec has also led the way for the enormous rise in popularity in recent years for girls high school wrestling.
Makayla Munoz and Princess Altisis have combined to win seven individual titles representing Aztec High School from 2020 through 2023.
“If I can manage do duplicate any of that, success will follow,” Stout said. “I’ve surrounded myself with like-minded and good people, so I am excited about the future of Aztec wrestling.”