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Appalachian State announces full coaching staff

D.J. Fehlman will serve as App State's volunteer assistant coach (Photo/Lock Haven Athletics)

BOONE, N.C. -- App State Wrestling head coach JohnMark Bentley has announced his full coaching staff for the 2020-21 season, with the three assistant spots being held by Ian Miller, Randall Diabe and DJ Fehlman.

With Miller serving as the head assistant coach, Diabe has been promoted to assistant coach and Felhman arrives as the Mountaineers' volunteer assistant following a standout competitive career at Lock Haven.

The four coaches in Boone combined for 429 victories and 11 appearances at the NCAA Championships during their college careers.

"I'm excited to add Randall and DJ to round out our staff for this year," Bentley said. "Randall has a tremendous love for Appalachian and will be a valuable asset as he continues to grow in this coaching role. DJ provides valuable experience as a competitor and will provide needed energy and hands-on training to our student-athletes."

Diabe completed his App State Wrestling career in 2018-19 and made his coaching debut as a volunteer assistant for the Mountaineers last season, helping them go 9-3 overall, produce a school-record six NCAA qualifiers, post a Division I-best four shutouts and finish as one of only six teams that had all 10 starters post a winning record.

A two-time NCAA Championships qualifier, Diabe finished his competitive career in 2019 with a 77-48 record after being named All-Southern Conference at 197 pounds and earning an automatic NCAA berth thanks to his title at the SoCon Championship in Boone.

Diabe graduated from App State in December 2019 with a degree in health promotion and a minor in nutrition.

"I'm really excited to continue my journey with the App State wrestling program in a new role," Diabe said. "As a wrestler, we achieved a lot, and now I can spread all of the knowledge I've gained throughout my collegiate career with our up-and-coming wrestlers. With a year of experience as a volunteer assistant, getting a closer look at what Coach Bentley's vision is for this program from this side of the sport is something I can't wait to partake in. I can't wait to get the ball rolling and achieve new accomplishments with this program, along with its new staff and hungry wrestlers."

Fehlman, who is from Warren, Pa., wrapped up his Lock Haven career earlier this year as a three-time NCAA qualifier who also was named an NWCA Division I Scholar All-American.

He went 113-44 in his final four years at Lock Haven, made the round of 16 at the NCAAs in 2019 and had several high-level matchups at 133 pounds with App State national qualifier Codi Russell. Felhman and his wife, Shaye, have arrived in Boone and enjoyed their time so far in the High Country.

"This team and community are like a family," Fehlman said. "They have welcomed my wife and I here with open arms. The expectation for these wrestlers and coaching staff is to win, and the culture is in place to do so. The wrestling world better keep their eyes on App State this year -- this group is special."

Moving forward from a pandemic-shortened season, App State brings back seven wrestlers who were among the team's 10 starters for the majority of the 2019-20 season. Under Bentley's direction, in the past six seasons, App State's 37-4 conference record ranks No. 5 nationally in all of Division I wrestling behind just Missouri, Oklahoma State, Cornell and Penn State.

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