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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    A Look at Alma Maters of Current DI Head Coaches

    North Carolina head coach Coleman Scott (Photo/Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    With the hiring of Ned Shuck by Bellarmine it looks like the head coaching portion of the coaching carousel may be intact for the year. "May" being the key word! Since we have a new crop of head coaches, it's a good time to look at where these men came from. Over the years, the Iowa and Oklahoma State coaching trees have been discussed at great length. After a spring and summer of musical coaching chairs, do the two superpowers still lead in producing head coaches? We've got the answer to that question and plenty others you probably never asked below.

    These figures have been generated centered around 78 current DI teams (including Bellarmine and Cal Baptist who are transitioning to DI status).

    Jason Borrelli (American), Shuck (Bellarmine), Mike Grey (Cornell), Luke Smith (CSU Bakersfield), Mike Poeta (Illinois), and Rob Koll (Cornell) will be "new" head coaches in the 2021-22 season.

    Of the six coaches that were hired in the spring/summer of 2021, two were Central Michigan alums. Jason Borrelli and Luke Smith being the two. Smith guided the Roadrunners under an interim tag during the 2021 season.

    Currently there are 18 DI coaches who have the head job at their alma mater (Z. Jones; Stutzman, Grey, Hill, Elliott, Papadatos, Poeta, Escobedo, Brands, Andrassy, Patrovich, Bormet, Eggum, J Smith, Reina, Gavin, Hangey, Garland). That's slightly over 23% of the current head coaching population.

    Six current DI head coaches attended schools that compete at non DI-levels. (Marcus Gordon, Ryan Ludwig, Andy Lausier, Joe Patrovich, Mark Manning, Sam Barber).

    Two current DI head coaches attended schools that no longer sponsor wrestling (Mark Manning - Nebraska-Omaha, and Greg Williams - Utah State).

    Ten current DI head coaches attended PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) schools, which is just under 13% of the population. Bloomsburg (Beasley), Edinboro (Clemsen, Gibson, Hill, Robie, Rosselli), Lock Haven (Ferraro, Goodale, Kolat, Rogers).

    Additionally, the above ten coaches plus nine others went to college in Pennsylvania. That accounts for almost 25% of all current head coaches. (Weiss - F&M, Ayres - Lehigh, Reina - Penn, Flynn; J. Moore; S. Moore - Penn State, Gavin; Santoro - Pittsburgh; Lausier - Lycoming).

    Oklahoma State retains the crown with most alumni in DI head coaching ranks (Branch, Erisman, Lanham, Pendleton, Popolizio, Scott, J. Smith, Ward).

    Speaking of Oklahoma State, all three of the North Carolina schools that sponsor wrestling in the ACC are led by Cowboy alums. (Lanham - Duke, Popolizio - NC State, Scott - North Carolina).

    Shuck's hire gives Iowa seven alums in the DI head coach ranks (Brands, Dresser, Ersland, Ryan, Schwab, Shuck, L Zalesky).

    After Shuck's addition, Iowa would have tied Oklahoma State had Fresno State (Troy Steiner) not dropped its program. Jim Heffernan (Illinois) also stepped down this year, which could have put Iowa over Oklahoma State, had Shuck been hired and Fresno State kept the team.

    All three division one programs in Iowa are led by former Hawkeyes (Brands, Dresser - Iowa State, Schwab - Northern Iowa).

    Every NCAA title since 2008 has been won by a head coach that went to college in Iowa (Brands (4), Sanderson (8), Ryan (1).

    Penn State has three current alums among the head coaching ranks. None is from the Cael Sanderson-era, so expect that number to grow in the future.

    The same can be said for Iowa who does not have a former wrestler under Brands as a head coach, yet.

    Minnesota has three former Gophers in the division one coaching ranks. Coincidentally, all three wrestled 184 lbs while in college. Damion Hahn did so for his first two years, while Roger Kish did for his entire career. Brandon Eggum moved to 184 for his final two seasons after the weights were shifted.

    The only two NCAA champions for the University of Pittsburgh over the last 54 years are both currently head coaches (Gavin/Santoro).

    Two collegiate teams featured three current DI head coaches competing at the same time, while in college. The 2005 Oklahoma State Cowboys (Scott, Ward, Pendleton). Edinboro's 2007 team (Hill, Clemsen, Gibson).

    Wrestling is a unique sport that tends to promote its superstars for coaching positions. 16 of the 77 current head coaches were DI national champions during their collegiate career.

    Of these 16 national champions, there were two separate occasions where three current DI head coaches won national titles in the same year. 1988 (J. Smith, Santoro, Koll). 2008 (Escobedo, Scott, Gavin).

    Current DI head coaches have met in the NCAA finals on two occasions. In 1999, Cael Sanderson defeated Brandon Eggum. Two years prior, Cary Kolat had beaten Roger Chandler in the finals.

    Eight current head coaches wrestled in the Olympic Games (Z. Jones, Rosselli, Brands, Schwab, Sanderson, Kolat, J. Smith, Scott).

    Below are the current DI head coaches listed under their alma mater's. They are listed under their school names with their current job in parentheses.

    Note: We have Scott Moore listed under Penn State since he graduated from the school before enrolling at Virginia to exhaust his eligibility and attend graduate school.


    Kyle Borshoff (Binghamton)

    Arizona State

    Zeke Jones (Arizona State)


    Frank Beasley (George Mason)


    John Stutzman (Buffalo)


    Jon Sioredas (Cal Poly)

    Central Michigan

    Jason Borrelli (American)

    Scotti Sentes (Campbell)

    Luke Smith (CSU Bakersfield)


    Mike Grey (Cornell)

    Troy Nickerson (Northern Colorado)


    Alex Clemsen (Maryland)

    Jim Gibson (VMI)

    Matt Hill (Edinboro)

    Tony Robie (Virginia Tech)

    Lou Rosselli (Oklahoma)

    Franklin and Marshall

    Jay Weiss (Harvard)


    Daniel Elliott (Gardner-Webb)


    Dennis Papadatos (Hofstra)


    Mike Poeta (Illinois)


    Roger Chandler (Michigan State)

    Angel Escobedo (Indiana)

    Ryan LeBlanc (The Citadel)


    Tom Brands (Iowa)

    Kevin Dresser (Iowa State)

    Tony Ersland (Purdue)

    Tom Ryan (Ohio State)

    Doug Schwab (Northern Iowa)

    Ned Shuck (Bellarmine)

    Lennie Zalesky (Cal Baptist)

    Iowa State

    Matt Azevedo (Drexel)

    Chris Bono (Wisconsin)

    Cael Sanderson (Penn State)

    Kent State

    Jim Andrassy (Kent State)


    Chris Ayres (Princeton)

    Lock Haven

    Keith Ferraro (Clarion)

    Scott Goodale (Rutgers)

    Cary Kolat (Navy)

    Mike Rogers (Franklin & Marshall)


    Sean Bormet (Michigan)

    Michigan State

    Brian Smith (Missouri)

    Dan Wirnsberger (Bucknell)


    Brandon Eggum (Minnesota)

    Damion Hahn (South Dakota State)

    Roger Kish (North Dakota State)


    Mark Cody (Presbyterian)

    Jeremy Spates (SIU Edwardsville)


    Todd Beckerman (Brown)

    North Carolina

    JohnMark Bentley (Appalachian State)

    Rob Koll (Stanford)

    Northern Iowa

    Joel Greenlee (Ohio)

    Ohio State

    John Clark (Sacred Heart)


    Matt Storniolo (Northwestern)

    Oklahoma State

    Mark Branch (Wyoming)

    Neil Erisman (Little Rock)

    Glen Lanham (Duke)

    Chris Pendleton (Oregon State)

    Pat Popolizio (NC State)

    Coleman Scott (North Carolina)

    John Smith (Oklahoma State)

    Kevin Ward (Army West Point)


    Roger Reina (Penn)

    Penn State

    Tim Flynn (West Virginia)

    Josh Moore (Cleveland State)

    Scott Moore (Lock Haven)


    Keith Gavin (Pittsburgh)

    Pat Santoro (Lehigh)


    John Hangey (Rider)

    The Citadel

    Tom Borrelli (Central Michigan)

    Utah State

    Greg Williams (Utah Valley)


    Steve Garland (Virginia)


    Kyle Ruschell (Chattanooga)

    Zach Tanelli (Columbia)

    Non DI Schools


    Marcus Gordon (Bloomsburg)

    CW Post - Now Long Island

    Joe Patrovich (Long Island)


    Ryan Ludwig (Northern Illinois)


    Andy Lausier (Davidson)


    Mark Manning (Nebraska)

    Upper Iowa

    Sam Barber (Air Force)

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