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  • Photo: Photo/Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Photo/Tony Rotundo

    Expectations for new head coaches in Division I

    There was a fair amount of coaching changes during the recent off season. Several high-profile Division I wrestling programs will feature new head coaches for the 2018-2019 season. The following is what fans can expect from new men leading their squads.

    Binghamton: Kyle Borshoff
    2018 Dual Record: 12-5
    2018 NCAA Team Points: 0.5

    Former head coach Matt Dernlan resigned last December, and Borshoff took over in the middle of the season. As acting head coach, he directed the fighting Billy Baldwins down the stretch. The squad won eight of their last nine dual matches and advanced two wrestlers, Frankie Garcia and Steven Schneider, to the NCAA tournament.

    This season, Garcia is back for his senior year, and former blue chip recruit Louie DePrez will come out of redshirt. DePrez went 28-4 during his redshirt season. He will represent the U.S. in freestyle at the Junior World Championships this weekend. The Bearcats have established themselves as a strong mid-tier team in recent years. Under their new coach, fans should expect a solid dual record and a handful of NCAA qualifiers.

    Chattanooga: Kyle Ruschell
    2018 Dual Record: 8-7
    2018 NCAA Team Points: 2.5

    The Mocs will turn to Kyle Ruschell after former coach Heath Eslinger moved on this past July. Last season, Chattanooga went 6-1 in conference and finished second in the SoCon tournament behind Appalachian State. They advanced three to the NCAA tournament where the now-graduated Bryce Carr fell in the blood round and finished one match away from becoming an All-American.

    Ruschell spent the last eight seasons at Wisconsin. There he helped coach five All-Americans, including four-time All-American Isaac Jordan.

    Alonzo Allen (125) is the only returning NCAA qualifier for the Mocs. However, they will receive a boost in the form of Tanner Smith who will take over at 149 after transferring. Last year, during his redshirt year, he went 20-0 while competing for the now defunct Eastern Michigan team. Appalachian State lost their best wrestler to graduation, but they should still be the class of the SoCon. If Ruschell can get results from a few unheralded guys, they might be able to make a run at the conference title. It will also be interesting to see what he does in terms of recruiting. Chattanooga may not have the history of bigger programs, but they host the annual Southern Scuffle, which brings a lot of eyes to the program.

    Cleveland State: Josh Moore
    2018 Dual Record: 3-10
    2018 NCAA Team Points: 0

    Ben Stehura walked away from the Cleveland State program last March. Two months later, the athletic department decided to promote from within and elevated Josh Moore. Moore had been the primary assistant for the last three seasons for the Vikings.

    Last season was a tough one for Cleveland State. They won only three dual matches and one of those came against a Division III opponent. The squad finished sixth out of seven at the EWL tournament and advanced a single wrestler to the NCAA tournament.

    Expectations are not very high for Moore's first season at the helm. However, there are reasons for optimism in The Rock and Roll Capital of the World. Ohio remains one of the most fertile recruiting grounds in wrestling. Plus, Moore's twin brother Scott has shown the levels an EWL program can reach while coaching at Lock Haven.

    Edinboro: Matt Hill
    2018 Dual Record: 8-5
    2018 NCAA Team Points: 7

    Of all the coaches on this list, Hill might face the steepest uphill battle. Tim Flynn resigned last April. Athletic director Bruce Baumgartner also moved into a new position with Edinboro. The offseason of change continued with several high- profile transfers out of the program. Sean Russell, Korbin Myers, Andrew Shomers, Dakota Greer and Billy Miller all left the school since last season.

    Hill wrestled under Flynn at Edinboro from 2002-2007. Following his competitive career, he entered coaching. Most of Hill's collegiate experience came at Kent State where he served as an assistant. At Kent State, he coached Dustin Kilgore to an NCAA title.

    Edinboro will feature an almost entirely new lineup this season. They might take their lumps, but the schedule is not as tough as it has been in the past. Outside of the EWL, they will face Wyoming and Oklahoma in marquee duals.

    Indiana: Angel Escobedo
    2018 Dual Record: 6-10
    2018 NCAA Team Points: 1.5

    During his 26 years as the head coach at Indiana, Duane Goldman coached two wrestlers to NCAA titles, Joe Dubuque (twice) and the man who will replace him, Angel Escobedo. Prior to this assignment, Escobedo only had four years of coaching experience. After graduating, he spent three years as an assistant under Kevin Jackson at Iowa State. Last season, he returned to Bloomington and acted as chief second.

    Last year, Indiana finished 13th at the Big Ten tournament and failed to win a dual in conference. Their second winningest wrestler from last season, Devin Skatzka, left the squad and transferred to conference rival Minnesota. This year, the Hoosiers will lean heavily on seniors Elijah Oliver, Cole Weaver, Jake Danishek and Bryce Martin, but they will likely remain in the bottom half of the Big Ten. Escobedo should bring some new energy to the program, but he will need to pick up some wins on the recruiting trail. He is off to a good start as he has scored a commit from InterMat's 74th ranked recruit Luke Baughman (Wadsworth, Ohio).

    Little Rock: Neil Erisman
    Presbyterian: Mark Cody

    When the 2019-2020 season kicks off there will be two new Division I programs. Erisman man will lead the new program at Little Rock after spending the last four seasons as an assistant at North Carolina. He previously served as an assistant as his alma mater, Oklahoma State. Erisman will get the chance to literally build from the ground up as the athletic department announced the construction of a new facility, and he will need to recruit an entire team from scratch.

    After coaching American to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA tournament, Cody eventually moved to Oklahoma. He never really broke through there, but he coached Kendric Maple and Cody Brewer to titles. Cody left the Sooners in 2016 and was linked to multiple positions before landing at Presbyterian. His ability to rebuild the program at American should make Presbyterian an attractive destination for fans and recruits in the near future.

    Sean Bormet coaching at the NCAAs (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    Michigan: Sean Bormet
    2018 Dual Record: 11-3
    2018 NCAA Team Points: 80

    Of all the new head coaches on this list, Bormet certainly walks into the best position. Michigan finished tied for fourth at the NCAA tournament last season and returns significant portions of their roster. Joe McFarland retired following the season after 19 years on the job. Bormet had been the top assistant. The squad this year returns six starters and adds two new starters, former Iowa State wrestler Kanen Storr and blue-chip recruit Jelani Embree. Michigan will certainly have a strong season and might be headed towards another trophy performance at the NCAA tournament in Bormet's first year.

    Damion Hahn (left) coaching with Gabe Dean (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    South Dakota State: Damion Hahn
    2018 Dual Record: 14-2
    2018 NCAA Team Points: 42

    Former coach Chris Bono moved on to Wisconsin this past offseason. Hahn, who has been one of the hottest names in coaching for years, did not have to wait long for a call. He signed on to coach the Jackrabbits this past April. Prior to this posting, Hahn served as an assistant at Cornell for 12 seasons. During his time there, the Big Red finished in the top ten at the NCAA tournament 11 times.

    This past season, Seth Gross became the first Division I champion in South Dakota State, and the school's first champion at any level since Paul Konechne won a Division II title in 2001. Gross will be back for Hahn's first season, but they will need to replace four seniors from last year. Also, Connor Brown, last year's start at 125 pounds, followed Coach Bono to Wisconsin. Hahn has the coaching chops to be successful at South Dakota State. Their move into the Big 12 has upped their recruiting profile, and they should be in good shape even after losing their head coach.

    Wisconsin: Chris Bono
    2018 Dual Record: 7-5
    2018 NCAA Team Points: 27.5

    Bono's move from South Dakota State to Wisconsin is probably the most intriguing coaching change of the offseason. At SDSU, Bono built a program that has been able to compete with some of the best teams in the country. At Wisconsin, the mission is to contend for titles. Barry Davis announced that he would resign prior to the NCAA tournament last season. During his time with the program, he coached 26 All-Americans and three NCAA champions.

    Bono is coming off a season where he was named Big 12 Coach of the Year and led SDSU to a 12th-place finish at the NCAA tournament. He has already made an impact on the Wisconsin lineup as Connor Brown followed him from SDSU to Madison. Also, former Oklahoma State Tristan Moran recently transferred to the program. Wisconsin also returned multiple NCAA qualifiers and former top recruits including Cole Martin, Zander Wick, Evan Wick, Ryan Christensen and Trent Hillger. Bono has always been a strong recruiter, and it will be interesting to see if he takes a step forward in that regard now that he is at a Big Ten school.

    VMI: Jim Gibson
    2018 Dual Record: 2-11
    2018 NCAA Team Points: N/A

    The Keydets needed a reboot, and Gibson will certainly get his chance to turn things around. VMI went 2-11 last season with their only two wins coming against conference foes The Citadel and Davidson. They finished ahead of only Davidson at the SoCon tournament and were led by a pair of sophomores, Cade Kiely and Chris Beck, who finished fourth at the tournament.

    Gibson comes to VMI after spending his last six years at Bucknell. There, he helped the team set the record for most dual wins in a season, 15, in the 2014-2015 season. He has already assembled his staff, which will feature former Edinboro wrestler Ty Schoffstall and recent Bucknell graduate Tyler Smith.

    Next year should be another tough season for the Keydets. In addition to their conference schedule, they also face off against Bucknell, Buffalo, Lock Haven and Virginia in duals.

    West Virginia: Tim Flynn
    2018 Dual Record: 6-7
    2018 NCAA Team Points: 11.5

    The West Virginia athletic department seems determined to have a strong wrestling team. They made a significant investment in their facilities and made a big-splash hire of Sammie Henson four years ago. Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, things never really clicked with Henson, and he was removed from duty last March.

    The following month, WVU announced that Flynn would become the ninth coach in school history. During his 21 years at Edinboro, he coached 150 national qualifiers and 38 All-Americans. His teams finished in the top-25 at the NCAA tournament 18 times.

    It may take a few seasons for Flynn to get some new blood in the program. Most of the lineup returns for this season highlighted by NCAA qualifier Matthew Schmitt. A lot of the teams in the Big 12 are ascending at this point, so West Virginia will likely have some tough duals. However, Flynn has proven himself as a program builder, and he will likely have success in Morgantown.

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