Cary Kolat coaching at the NCAAs (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Former national champion and Olympic team member Cary Kolat has been named head wrestling coach at Navy it was announced Friday by Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk.
Kolat has established himself as one of the premier coaches in the sport after building a Campbell program into a Southern Conference power and a national name. The Camels have seen unprecedented success over the last four seasons, winning three SoCon Tournament titles (2017, 2019, 2020) and two regular-season SoCon Championships (2019, 2020). Under his tutelage, he has had 19 NCAA Championship qualifiers, 12 individual SoCon Champions and 28 medalists at the SoCon Tournament.
"The Navy community is very pleased to welcome one of the most accomplished competitors and finest coaches in the sport of wrestling to Annapolis," said Gladchuk. "The influence with which Coach Kolat's resume has had on so many speaks volumes to his commitment to success at every level of competition. I am extremely impressed with his professionalism, technical knowledge, ambition and confidence, along with the manner in which he exudes an enthusiastic will to win. Today is a big day for our midshipmen and our program as we turn the head coaching responsibilities over to a coach with great anticipation and widespread enthusiasm."
"I am honored to accept the position of head wrestling coach at the United States Naval Academy," said Kolat. "I would like to thank Navy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk for the opportunity he has given me to lead this program. I did not get to where I am on my own, so I feel very fortunate that some of my staff will be joining me. We have big plans for Navy wrestling and we are looking forward to getting our feet on the ground in Annapolis and begin moving forward. Go Navy!"
The Camels wrapped up the 2019-20 season by posting an 11-2 record that featured wins in each of their last nine duals. Among that nine-match winning streak, CU put together an undefeated mark (7-0) in conference action. Campbell secured its second straight and third overall SoCon Tournament Championship in four years thanks to crowning five individual champions.
A program-record six wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Championship for a second consecutive year. Among those qualifiers were three wrestlers seeded among the top 10, including 133-pound Noah Gonser, a three-time NCAA qualifier who was named the 2020 SoCon Wrestler of the Year. Josh Heil (141), meanwhile, is also a three-time NCAA qualifier and the school's first three-time SoCon Champion. At 184 pounds Andrew Morgan was ranked as high as No. 6 in the nation, winning the 2020 SoCon title and qualifying for his second NCAA Championship.
Campbell, who ranked as high as No. 12 in the country (InterMat), completed a sweep of its regular-season conference schedule with a 35-13 win at Davidson on February 23, claiming its second straight league dual championship. The dual title is the first outright regular-season championship for the Camels in program history, while its undefeated conference record also was also a first.
In 2018-19, the Camels captured their second SoCon Tournament title in three years, while also earning the school's first regular-season conference championship. CU earned a share of the SoCon dual title with a 5-1 league mark to go along with a 7-1 overall dual record. It earned the program's first top-25 national ranking, while placing a program-best 10th at the prestigious Midlands Championship.
Campbell sent a school-record six to the NCAA Championships in 2019, while eight total Camels earned spots on the podium at the SoCon Championships, with all 10 wrestling for medals.
Kolat was named one of eight finalists for NWCA Coach of the Year, and was named SoCon Coach of the Year following the program's tournament win.
Additionally, Campbell earned National Wrestling Coaches Association Division I Academic Team honors for the third-straight year. The Camels finished 13th nationally in the standings with a 3.28 team grade-point average, posting a top-25 academic finish for the fifth time in program history.
In 2017-18, the Camels boasted a top-three finish in the SoCon and ranked in the top-25 of the NWCA Division I All-Academic team standings. After winning the SoCon Championship in 2017, CU placed third in 2018, and took ninth in the NWCA All-Academic team ranks.
Four Camels made the individual NWCA All-Academic team, including Jere Heino, Austin Kraisser, Andrew Morgan and Quentin Perez, while five medaled at the 2018 SoCon Championships, highlighted by Jere Heino's title at heavyweight.
Following the 2017-18 season, Kolat was named 2017 USA Wrestling Women's Co-Coach of the Year, joined by John Smith for the honor, and named by USA Wrestling. Smith and Kolat were the official 2017 Women's World Team coaches, working with National Coach Terry Steiner and leading the U.S. women in Paris, France to an impressive second-place finish. The team was led by World champion Helen Maroulis, World silver medalist Alli Ragan and World bronze medalist Becka Leathers.
In 2016-17, Kolat led Campbell to its first Southern Conference Championship. After posting a 6-1 record and second place in the regular season, the Camels went 16-4 in the first two rounds of the 2017 SoCon Championship, including a perfect 10-0 mark in the first round, with two Camels claiming individual titles, and six in total making the podium.
The Camels sent five student-athletes to the 2017 NCAA Championships where Nathan Kraisser earned the program's first All-America citation after defeating Freddie Rodriguez of SIUE, 4-1.
During the 2014-15 season, Nathan Kraisser and Ville Heino earned NCAA bids after winning SoCon titles.
On June 2-3, Kolat was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a member of the 41st Annual Class. Kolat is recognized as a Distinguished Member for the Modern Era. The NWHOF recognizes distinguished members as a wrestler who has achieved extraordinary success in national and/or international competition; a coach who has demonstrated great leadership in the profession and who has compiled an outstanding record; or a contributor whose long-term activities have substantially enhanced the development and advancement of the sport.
Kolat arrived at Campbell prior to the 2014-15 season after serving as associate head coach at North Carolina from 2010-14.
During Kolat's tenure in Chapel Hill, he was involved in all phases of the UNC program and helped improve the team's national ranking from 57 to 22. In addition, he served as head coach at the Olympic regional training center in Chapel Hill where he trained Olympic-level athletes.
Kolat has also served on wrestling staffs at Lehigh, Wisconsin, West Virginia and his alma mater, Lock Haven.
A two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion, Kolat was a four-time All-American who went on to compete in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. A three-time World Cup gold medalist, he also won World silver and bronze medals.
His career also includes three U.S. Open championship medals and a pair of Pan-Am Games first-place finishes. Kolat was a member of the U.S. National Team from 1991-2002. In the summer of 2011, Kolat returned to competitive wrestling, was a finalist at the U.S. Open and competed in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Kolat won four-straight state titles and compiled a perfect 137-0 record at Jefferson-Morgan High School in Green County Pa. He was named Outstanding Wrestler at the state meet each year, an honor no other wrestler had won even twice.
Kolat began his decorated collegiate career at Penn State, where he advanced to the NCAA finals as a freshman. After his sophomore year, he garnered All-America honors for the second-straight season and was named Big Ten Conference Wrestler of the Year. In two seasons at Penn State, Kolat compiled a 61-6 record, including a 39-1 mark as a sophomore.
He transferred to Lock Haven, where he won his first NCAA Division I National Championship in 1996 with a 25-1 record. He finished 25-0 as senior when he won the 142-pound national title. He completed his college wrestling career with a 111-7 overall record and 53 pins.
Kolat earned his Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Lock Haven in 2003. He and his wife, Erin, are the parents of two daughters - Zoe and Gracie, and a son Ryder.