Maryville coach Denney recognized for 350 dual wins

Mike Denney and his wife Bonnie

Maryville University head wrestling coach Mike Denney reached a landmark achievement of 350 dual wins when the Saints defeated Notre Dame College Feb. 12, 2017, during last year's Dr. Lombardi Duals. Maryville University President Dr. Mark Lombardi celebrated the achievement when he presented Coach Denney with an award Sunday during the 2018 edition of the Dr. Lombardi Duals in St. Louis. The Saints wrestling program concluded the 2018 dual season with 358 total wins. Denney's wrestling teams have won seven NCAA Division II National Championships.

"Maryville University is excited to be at the center of Division II wrestling," Lombardi said. "We celebrate the accomplishments of Coach Denney and his team today and honor the thousands of people who are a part of Denney's wrestling family and tradition."

"The 350 dual wins is impressive, and I salute Coach Denney and Bonnie," Jeff Miller, Vice President of Enrollment at Maryville University said, "The real legacy is the thousands of young men this couple has positively impacted over the past 49 years of coaching"

During Denney's remarkable 49-year career (10 years high school & 39 years college) he has been named NCAA Division II coach of the year three times. Denney's teams have won 7 NCAA Division II National titles, 7 NWCA National Dual Championships, and 12 NCAA Division II Regional Titles. Denney has coached 281 NCAA Division II National Qualifiers, 202 All-Americans, 142 NWCA Academic All-Americans, and 35 individual NCAA Division II National Champions.

"Three hundred fifty wins are such a difficult accomplishment and milestone that few in wrestling will ever achieve," former wrestler and assistant coach of 24 years Ron Higdon said. "More than the wins, the impact that Coach Denney has made in the lives of the young men in his program, the colleagues that have worked with him, and his peers in the coaching profession, will leave a lifelong impression that is unmatched. On behalf of all of those mentioned, I congratulate Coach on the milestone, but more importantly we thank him for impacting our lives in the way he has and continues to do."

"Bonnie and I are so thankful and grateful for each and every one of the wrestlers, coaches, parents, and people that we have had the privilege, pleasure, and honor to work with over the past 49 years of teaching and coaching," Denney said. "We feel like each one has been sent to us and is a gift. We are thankful that our family has been understanding of the teaching and coaching mission we feel that we have been called to do. Our family has embraced our wrestling family. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have given Bonnie and me much more than we could have given you. OOOSSS!"

Coach Denney has been a guiding force for all the people that have been associated with his programs. Coach Denney - sometimes all you can say is thank you, thank you, thank you. The best is yet to come!


Mike Denney was named the first ever Maryville University Wrestling Head Coach on June 1, 2011. Denney, who is known for his positive approach and his perseverance, believes that success in coaching results from passion for one's work. His philosophy is evidenced by the academic achievements of his wrestlers: 67 have been recognized as NCAA Division II NWCA Academic All-Americans during his coaching tenure at UNO and Maryville. Denney was a four-year starter and All-Conference and All-District performer in football and wrestling at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota. He was inducted into the Dakota Wesleyan Hall of Fame in 1988 and the NCAA Division II Hall of Fame in 1999. A versatile athlete, Denney played 7 years of semi-pro football for the Omaha Mustangs and currently holds a Third Degree Black Belt in Judo. He still enjoys training in Judo and Jujitsu. He has placed many years in the National Masters Judo Championships and in 1982 won the Championship at 209 pounds.


• Selected Super Region III Coach of the Year (2016)
• Selected Super Region III Coach of the Year (2015)
• 2011-12 Maryville Inaugural Wrestling team
• Selected InterMat Coach of the Year for All Divisions (2011)
• Named NCAA Division II Wrestling Coach of the Year (1981, 1991, 2009)
• Inducted into the Omaha Sports Hall of Fame (2009)
• Named Amateur Wrestling News "Man of the Year" (2006)
• Selected Win Magazine's Dan Gable Coach of the Year (2006)
• Inducted into the Omaha Bryan High School Hall of Fame (2006)
• Inducted into the Omaha South High School Hall of Fame (2005)
• Awarded the University of Nebraska at Omaha Chancellor's Medal (2004)
• Nebraska Wrestling Coaches Association Guy Mytty Memorial Award (2004)
• Inducted into the Dakota Wesleyan Athletic Hall of Fame (1988)
• Inducted into the NCAA Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame (1999)
• Received the University of Nebraska at Omaha
College of Education Distinguished Alumni Award (1999)
• Named the Dakota Wesleyan University Alumni Coach of the Year (1997)
• Earned Omaha Sportscaster's Association Sportsman of the Year (1991)
• Named the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Coach of the Year (1991)
• Selected to the NCAA Division II Wrestling Committee where he was chairman and director (1986-1992)
• Elected President of the NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches Association where he served 1988-1990
• Inducted into the Nebraska Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame (1986)
• Inducted into the Metro Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame (1984)
• Named Dakota Wesleyan University Young Alumnus of the Year (1981)
• Received the High School Wrestling Coach of the Year award by the Metro Wrestling Coaches (1975)
• Selected as one of the Outstanding College Athletes of America (1969)
• All-Conference and All-District in football and wrestling (1968-69)


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jjwidhalm (1) about 1 year ago
Congrats Coach Denney. You have always represented the sport of wrestling with class.
Coach Sig (1) about 1 year ago
Congratulations Coach Denney! What a legacy! I am privileged to have known you!