Roberts, much older & wiser, meets Hafizov again in Final X
Photo: Dalton Roberts (left) beat Ildar Hafizov at the 2023 U.S. Open...
There will be 12 new head coaching positions in NCAA Division I and 11 of them have been filled at this point. Grand Canyon University is still searching for a new coach as of Aug. 1. The total number of new coaches is double the number of coaches who took over programs in 2013-14.
The following is a brief closer look at the new coaches.
The graduate from Upper Iowa University spent the past five years as an assistant coach for former coach Joel Sharratt. Before that, Barber served as an assistant coach at Minnesota and Augsburg before becoming the head coach at the Division III school in 2007.
The former NCAA qualifier from Oklahoma State became the head coach in West Point on Aug. 1, a few weeks after former coach Joe Heskett became an assistant athletic director at West Virginia. Ward has spent the past four years at Ouachita Baptist, an NCAA Division II program that Ward started where Ward was named NCAA Division II Coach of the Year in 2014. Ward becomes Army’s 10th all-time head coach.
The former NCAA All-American from Arizona State, who was part of the Sun Devils’ national championship team in 1988, returns to his alma mater and NCAA Division I coaching after heading up the USA Wrestling National Freestyle Team the past six years. Before that, Jones served as head coach at Penn (2005-07), where he produced an NCAA champion in Matt Valenti. A national runner-up for ASU, the native of Ann Arbor, Mich., also excelled in freestyle as a wrestler, winning a World championship in 1991 and also earned an Olympic silver medal in 1992.
The two-time NCAA champion (1996-97) from Lock Haven and 2000 Olympian becomes a head coach for the first time after spending the past four years as an associate head coach at the University of North Carolina. Kolat replaced Joe Boardwine, who sent wrestlers to the NCAAs for the past three years from this Southern Conference team.
Eastern Michigan — David Bolyard
The former four-time NCAA qualifier and 2004 All-American from Central Michigan has served for the past seven years as an assistant coach for Derek DelPorto, who resigned last spring after becoming the winningest wrestling coach in EMU history.
Replacing Robert Anspach, who announced his resignation on June 21, the former two-time NCAA qualifier from this Long Island school was named head coach on Aug. 4, after serving as an assistant coach at North Carolina and Binghamton since 2006. Papadatos was a four-year starter for former Pride coach (and current Ohio State mentor) Tom Ryan and qualified for the NCAAs in 2000 and 2001.
The former Iowa Hawkeye All-American has switched service academies after spending the past eight years heading up the Air Force Academy program. This is also a return of Sharratt to Annapolis, Md., where he served as an assistant coach to former Navy coach Bruce Burnett, who is now serving as interim U.S. men’s freestyle head coach.
Less than five years removed from completing a stellar wrestling career at Cornell University, where the four-time All-American and two-time finalist won the 2009 NCAA championship, the native of New York takes over the Bear program from Ben Cherrington. Since graduating from Cornell in 2010, Nickerson served as an assistant coach at Iowa State the past two winters.
A two-time All-American from Illinois and native of Clovis, Calif., Tirapelle may not have eastern wrestling roots but he does understand the academic demands this Ivy League school features … after spending the past four years serving as an assistant coach at Stanford.
The former Hawkeye enjoyed eight years as an assistant coach at Nebraska before taking over for Scott Hinkel, who resigned in April. After graduating from Iowa in 1997, when Ersland finished one victory short of All-American status, he started coaching: first at Central Michigan, then Northern Illinois and Iowa State before moving to Lincoln, Neb.
After serving as an assistant coach Penn State (2000-02), Army (2002-03), Nebraska (2006-07), Cal Poly (2007-09), Oklahoma (2009-11) and most recently Missouri (2012-14), the two-time World champion (1998 & 2006) and 2000 Olympic silver medalist finally earned his first head coaching position. Henson replaces Craig Turnbull, who spent 36 years in Morgantown.