Lindenwood Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Brad Wachler has named Mike Mena as the new women's wrestling head coach.
"Coach Mena has a wealth of coaching experience and a great track record of success both academically and athletically," Wachler said. "With his personal accomplishments on the mat and his lifelong involvement in the sport, I know he will energize our women's wrestling program and position it for great things in the future."
Mena brings 18 years of collegiate coaching experience to Lindenwood, most recently as the assistant wrestling coach at California Baptist University in Riverside, California. After winning the RMAC Team Championship and the 2018 NCAA Division II Super Regional, the program finished third at the National Championship, producing four NCAA Division II All-Americans, three finalists, and the 149 pound NCAA Division II National Wrestling Champion.
"I'm honored to serve as head women's wrestling coach at Lindenwood University," Mena said. "I'd like to thank Coach Rollins, Senior Associate Athletic Director Tom Wagganer, and Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Brad Wachler for this wonderful opportunity and for believing in me. I look forward to leading the program forward as an emerging sport at the intercollegiate level."
Mena began his career as head assistant wrestling coach at Indiana University in 2000 and he spent nine years with the program. From there, his path took him to California State University in Bakersfield, California; the Legends of Gold National Training Center in Beresford, South Dakota; the University of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa; and Lincoln College in Lincoln, Illinois.
Mena actually started wrestling when he was just five years old. The Rock Falls, Illinois native was a standout at Sterling Newman Central Catholic High School. He was the first wrestler to finish his career undefeated with a mark of 157-0-1 and he was a four-time Illinois State Wrestling Champion. His career continued at the University of Iowa, where he was a four-time NCAA Division I All-American and member of three NCAA National Wrestling Championship Teams in 1995, 1996, and 1997. He also set an NCAA record with 170 points his final year and earned the Mike Howard Award as the Most Valuable Wrestler in Iowa.
After college, his focus shifted towards training for the Olympics. He was a member of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club from 1998 to 2000 and a member of the USA National Freestyle Team in 1999, 2001, and 2003. He placed fifth at the Olympic Team Trials in 2000 and placed seventh in 2004. During that time, he was inducted into the Illinois Wrestling Coaches Officials Association in 2000 and in 2015, he was inducted into the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Mena earned a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts from the University of Iowa in 1997.