InterMat names UNO's Denney 2011 Coach of the Year

In a tight three-way race that featured head coaches from two NCAA championship teams as well as the 2011 NWCA Division I Coach of the Year, Mike Denney of the University of Nebraska-Omaha was voted InterMat Coach of the Year for 2011.

2011 InterMat Coach of the Year
1st-5th-Place Votes: 9-7-5-3-1
Total Votes/(First-Place Votes)

1. Mike Denney, UNO, 76 (7)
2. Cael Sanderson, PSU, 75 (5)
3. Mark Cody, American, 71 (2)
4. Steve Costanzo, SCSU, 22
5. Tom Brands, Iowa, 21
6. Shawn Charles, ASU, 20
7. Rob Koll, Cornell, 17
8. Jason Borrelli, Stanford, 15
9. Jim Miller, Wartburg, 10
T10. Archie Randall, OCU, 7
T10. Pat Santoro, Lehigh, 6
12. Barry Davis, Wisconsin, 5
T13. Jim Andrassy, KSU, 1
T13. Drew Pariano, Northwestern, 1
T13. Frank Romano, Notre Dame, 1
T13. Greg Randall, Boise State, 1
T13. Josh Rhoden, Clackamas, 1
Denney, who led his Mavericks to a third straight NCAA Division II team title, edged out Cael Sanderson of 2011 NCAA Division I champion Penn State, and American's Mark Cody, based on results of balloting among InterMat writers and executives to determine the top college wrestling coach for the year across all divisions.

Denney garnered 76 points -- including seven first-place votes -- to earn InterMat Coach of the Year honors. Sanderson received 75 points and five first-place votes to place second. Cody was close behind in third place with 71 points and two first-place votes.

With this honor, Denney joins past InterMat Coach of the Year honorees Rob Koll of Cornell University (2010), Ohio State's Tom Ryan (2008 and 2009), Cael Sanderson (as Iowa State head coach, 2007), and Oklahoma State's John Smith (2006).

The award is bittersweet. Three weeks ago, hours after taking his wrestlers to their third consecutive Division II championship with three Mavericks winning individual titles, Denney was told by UNO administrators that the wrestling program was being eliminated, effective immediately.

Mike Denney (Photo/Tim Tushla)
Denney has coached wrestling at UNO for 32 years, leading the Mavericks to a total of seven NCAA team titles, six of those in the past eight years. He is a three-time NCAA Division II Coach of the Year honoree, and, in 2006, was named Amateur Wrestling News Man of the Year, and WIN (Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine) Dan Gable Coach of the Year. Over the years, Denney, a graduate of Dakota Wesleyan, has seen over 40 of his wrestlers earn Academic All-American honors. More than 60 mat Mavs have become wrestling coaches.

"Mike Denney is the best coach, and the best man, I've worked with in more than 20 years in the communications business," said USA Wrestling's Craig Sesker, who covered Denney and the Mavericks writing for the Omaha World-Herald. "He is a man of the highest integrity, values and principles. He's given hundreds of young men an opportunity to wrestle for a first-class program. He's an unbelievably selfless and generous man who always puts his athletes first. He treats every kid on his team, from the national champions to the redshirts and backups, with the highest level of respect. He's a total class act all the way."


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