Wenger, a two-time Ohio state championships qualifier for the nationally-ranked Wadsworth High School Grizzlies, is returning to his alma mater as head coach, the Akron Beacon Journal reported Monday.
Clay WengerIt's a promotion for Wenger, who has served as varsity assistant wrestling coach at Wadsworth the past three years under long-time Grizzlies coach John Gramuglia, who retired in May after 33 seasons.
The 25-year-old Wenger will be taking the reins of a wrestling program ranked No. 18 in the nation on InterMat's Fab 50 high school rankings for 2017-18.
Wegner brings a wealth of wrestling and coaching experience to head up the Wadsworth mat program.
A captain on Wadsworth's Division I state championship 2010 team, Wenger was a four-year varsity letter winner, a two-time high school All-American and two-time state qualifier. He graduated from Wadsworth in 2011.
Wenger continued his academic and wrestling career at nearby Kent State University, where he was a two-year varsity letter winner. The Golden Flashes won a Mid-American Conference title in 2012, and finished in the Top 20 in the NCAA Division I Tournament in each of Wenger's four years before graduating in 2015.
Wegner is thrilled to get the promotion that puts him in charge of the program that, under Gramuglia, could claim 328 individual district qualifiers, 142 individual state qualifiers, 94 individual state placers, 38 state finalists and 16 individual state champions.
"It is a dream of mine to have the opportunity to be the head coach at the place that helped me become the wrestler, coach, and person I am today," Wenger said. "My goal is to be an impact on all my wrestlers so they have the same great experience I did. It's an honor to have learned and continue to learn from coach G every day. He has taught me to dream big and that hard work will pay off.
"I am excited to carry on the rich Grizzly wrestling tradition he built. I am also excited to work with this great group of returning lettermen and outstanding incoming freshmen. We are dreaming big and excited for the upcoming 2018-19 season. We have a great summer offseason planned and are ready for the challenge to keep our rich tradition going."
Gramuglia may be retiring as head coach but will remain associated with the Wadsworth wrestling program as director of operations. The long-time coach has strong confidence in his successor.
"Clay Wenger embodies everything Wadsworth wrestling exemplifies: Class, integrity and work ethic," Gramuglia said to the Medina Gazette. "There is no finer person I would like to carry on the Wadsworth wrestling rich tradition."