ELKINS -- Director of Athletics Jamie Joss has announced the addition of wrestling as the 24th varsity sport offering at Davis & Elkins College on Monday, as well as the hiring of Jerry Boland as the program's first head coach.
The Senators will receive support for some of the startup costs from the National Wrestling Coaches Association and allied partners beginning competition in the 2019-20 academic year.
"We are thrilled to add men's wrestling to our athletic program and elated to have Coach Boland lead our program," Joss said. "The addition of wrestling will provide opportunities for wrestlers throughout the region to compete at the collegiate level and an additional pathway for our student-athletes to compete for Mountain East Conference and NCAA Championships."
Boland, a member of the South Jersey Wrestling Hall of Fame, will be coming to Elkins after 14 years as a high school wrestling coach and five years as an administrator in the Evesham Township School District in New Jersey.
"We are pleased to welcome Coach Jerry Boland to lead the first wrestling program at D&E," said D&E President Chris A. Wood. "The 2019-20 academic year promises to be an exciting one as we begin play in the Mountain East Conference and, now, with the addition of our 24th varsity sport."
Overall, Boland has 20 years of coaching wrestling at various levels and also has served as an official for eight years.
"I am truly honored and excited to become the first head wrestling coach at Davis & Elkins College," said Boland. "I want to thank President Wood, Director of Athletics Jamie Joss, and the rest of the selection committee for having the faith in me to build this program.
"I also want to thank my wife, Michelle, my family, and all of those who supported me along this journey. I am looking forward to being a part of Senator Nation and leading young men to successful careers both on and off the mat."
During his time in high school wrestling, Boland has coached three New Jersey State Championship teams at Camden Catholic High School. He has also led the Camden Catholic and Cinnaminson High School programs to six more conference championships.
Boland has coached several individual district and regional champions at both schools, as well as three individual state champions at Camden Catholic. He has a career coaching record of 146-34.
A two-year team captain and four-year starter in college, Boland was an NCAA Division III All-American at Lycoming College in the mid-90s and was a two-time NCAA Tournament qualifier.
"Jerry's experience as an All-American and Hall of Fame high school and college wrestler, and successful high school coaching career at his alma mater will be critical in building the foundation of a successful program on and off the mat, "Joss added. "Coach Boland embodies our four pillars of Education-Engagement-Character-Competition. We look forward to welcoming Jerry and his family to the Elkins community."
Boland recently completed the 2018 National Wrestling Coaches Association Leadership Academy, where he worked closely with mentor Jack Spates, former head coach of the University of Oklahoma wrestling program.
A 2016 inductee of the South Jersey Wrestling Hall of Fame, Boland is a USA Wrestling certified club coach and a New Jersey state certified high school wrestling official. He is also a member of the South Jersey Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association, where he has served as an executive member.
Boland graduated from Lycoming College with a bachelor's degree in Psychology in 1998. He also earned his master's degree in Educational Leadership from Grand Canyon University in 2010.
Boland and his wife Michelle, along with their four boys, Gavin (13), Caden (10), Brennan (9), Owen (4), will be relocating to Elkins.
The addition of wrestling also expands the Davis & Elkins Athletics Department's sport offerings to 24, coming a year after women's triathlon and women's golf emerged for the 2018-19 year. Other recent additions have included men's and women's indoor and outdoor track in 2016-17 and women's acrobatics & tumbling in 2017-18.
What others are saying about Jerry:
Mike Moyer - NWCA Executive Director
"I want to congratulate the Davis & Elkins administration for selecting a phenomenal coach to lead their newly established men's wrestling program. Coach Boland is one of an elite group of coaches to receive a full scholarship to attend our prestigious NWCA CEO Leadership Academy. The Senators wrestling program is in great hands."
Jack Spates - Former University of Oklahoma Head Coach
"Davis & Elkins has hit a home run. Jerry Boland is a coach with great expertise and incredible passion for our sport and for young people. Look for great things to come from this program."
John Hangey - Rider University Head Coach
"Jerry has always wanted to be a college head wrestling coach. He has tremendous passion and knowledge for the sport. He will be a great leader for the student athletes and wrestling program at Davis & Elkins College."
Gary Papa - National Wrestling Hall of Fame member; Camden County College Head Coach
"I have had the unique pleasure of knowing Jerry Boland as a student/athlete, member of my coaching staff, and as a friend. I was the Head Wrestling Coach at Jerry's alma mater, Camden Catholic, when he competed in high school, and later on, when his college days were over, I was fortunate enough to have Jerry as an assistant coach on my staff at CCHS. I have always found Jerry to be one of my hardest working, dedicated, wrestlers and he brought the same work ethic to my coaching staff. Jerry is a true family man and a great friend that you can always count on to make the right decisions and do the right thing. I congratulate Davis & Elkins for their foresight in naming Jerry Boland as their new Head Wrestling Coach"
Davis & Elkins College, related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is a private liberal arts college located in Elkins, the heart of the West Virginia Highlands. D&E Athletics has 24 varsity sports with affiliations to the NCAA Division II, Great Midwest Athletic Conference, USA Triathlon and the NCATA, as well as a future affiliation to the Mountain East Conference beginning in 2019-20.