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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Buffalo Hires Donnie Vinson as Next Head Coach

    Donnie Vinson (left) photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com

    The University at Buffalo could not contain their excitement. A day ago their wrestling teams’ Twitter indicated that they would announce their new head coach on Monday. Well, they couldn’t wait for Monday, so the school announced they are hiring Cornell’s associate head coach, Donnie Vinson, as their next head coach. It will be Vinson’s first head coaching position. 

    No stranger to the state, Vinson comes over after spending the last three seasons assisting the national power from the Ivy League. In each of the last two seasons, Cornell has come away from the NCAA Tournament with a team trophy (2nd in 2024 and 3rd in 2023).

    During his time at Cornell, Vinson worked with Yianni Diakomihalis - who put the finishing touches on a legendary career with his fourth NCAA title in 2023 and Vito Arujau, who just completed his stay in Cornell with a pair of national titles. In addition, Arujau was named the Outstanding Wrestler at the 2023 NCAA Tournament and went on to capture a Senior World Championship at 61 kg, a few months later. 

    This was Vinson’s second stint on the Cornell coaching staff. He was a volunteer assistant from 2014-17, before leaving for NC State. While in Raleigh, Vinson was a part of a Wolfpack staff that oversaw an NCAA trophy-winning season in 2018 and an individual national champion in the same year. In addition to conference titles during each year of his tenure. 

    Vinson started his coaching career at his alma mater, Binghamton, as a graduate assistant in 2013-14. As a student-athlete, Vinson set the school record for wins (132) and made the CAA finals in each of his four seasons - winning as a junior and senior. 

    In 2012, Vinson finished third at the NCAA Championships. He came into the tournament seeded fourth, but was upset in the first round. From there he battled back the hard way and won seven straight bouts to take third. His placement remains the highest in the DI history of Binghamton wrestling.

    He’s also a New York native who was a two-time state runner-up and a top-100 recruit coming out of Whitney Point High School. 

    Vinson takes over a Buffalo team that moved on from head coach John Stutzman after 11 years at the helm for the Bulls. As is typically the case during a transition like this, Buffalo has multiple wrestlers in the transfer portal and their two 2024 national qualifiers have already committed to different institutions. Nick Stampoulos (Lock Haven) and Sam Mitchell (Wyoming).

    In 2023-24, Buffalo went 10-12 in dual competition. They would go on to finish fifth in the MAC with 85.5 points. 

    Buffalo fans should be pleased as the administration quickly moved to get a rising star in the coaching world - and one with in-state ties, as well.

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