Best College Wrestling Programs

December 28, 2011
by Justin

Welcome back to Pin to Win, a sport-specific, wrestling blog dedicated to college wrestling prospects. The last @HempsteadHuddle, wrestling piece was a Shoe Science article about the newest wrestling shoes for 2012. This week, we’ll be exploring the best college wrestling programs in the U.S. in every NCAA division. We have a lot of college wrestling programs to check out, so let’s get into them.


College Wrestling Programs Division I: Iowa

Over the last twenty years, one of the best wrestling programs in major-college wrestling has been Iowa. The Hawkeyes have won 12 National College Wrestling Championships in the last twenty years, and 23 all-time. Olympic wrestler and alumnus, Tom Brands, coaches this top college wrestling program. The 1996 Olympic gold medalist and member of wrestling’s Hall of Fame, is a three-time Big Ten Wrestling Coach of the Year, and is in his fifth season at the helm of this college wrestling powerhouse. In five years Brands has led Hawkeyes wrestling to three NCAA and Big Ten team titles, crowning six individual, NCAA college wrestling champions, eight Big Ten champions and 28 All-Americans. The Iowa college wrestling program is also known for its work in the classroom. Under Brands’ watch, there have been 34 academic all-Big Ten honorees, including a school-record 10 in 2010-11. The Hawkeye wrestling website has no questionnaire, but they do have a contact link if you are interested in joining the program.


College Wrestling Programs Division II: Nebraska-Omaha

Over the past 10 years, Nebraska-Omaha has been the top college wrestling programs in NCAA’s Division II. The Mavericks are led by InterMat Coach of the Year, Mike Denney. Denney who has led the Mavs to their third straight NCAA Division II national wrestling championship, beat out Cael Sanderson, former Olympic wrestler, college wrestling national champion and current coach of Division I’s college wrestling national champion, Penn State. Denney finished is in his 32nd year at the coaching at UNO. In his tenure, he has accumulated seven Division II national college wrestling championships. His wrestlers have a career dual record of 314-111-5 (.730) and he responsible for coaching 181 Division II All-Americans and 33 national wrestling champions during his run. This past season, Denney led the Mavericks, college wrestling program to a 12-1 dual wrestling record while coaching his star senior wrestlers Mario Morgan, Ryan Pankoke and Aaron Denson to national championships. The Mavericks won the wrestling team title by 12 points over St. Cloud State, capping off their dominant college wrestling season. If you are interested in becoming a Maverick, fill out this questionnaire.


College Wrestling Programs Division III: Wartburg & Augsburg

When it comes to rivalries in sports, there may be only a few as intense as the Wartburg and Augsburg College wrestling programs. Both of the Division III college wrestling programs have either been the college wrestling national champion or the runner up for the past 17 years.


Augsburg is coached by Mark Matzek, a two-time individual national champion and three-time All-American wrestler during his own Augsburg College career, who was named the ninth head coach in the history of the Augsburg college wrestling program in July 2008. He took over for college wrestling national championship coach Jeff Swenson, who was responsible for 10 of the Augsburg College wrestling program’s 11 national wrestling championships. If you are interest in wrestling for Augsburg, fill out this questionnaire.


Jim Miller, who came to Wartburg in 1991, coaches Wartburg’s college wrestling program. Since his tenure began, his wrestling teams have compiled a 350-33-4 dual meet record, won 19 consecutive Iowa Conference championships, won eight national college wrestling championships since 1996, and placed first or second in the nation 16 of the past 20 years. Wartburg hasn’t lost an Iowa Conference wrestling dual since the 1993-94 season, and reached the 20-win dual mark in four of the last six years. Their championship wrestling pedigree is only rivaled by Augsburg. If you are interested in Wartburg, fill out this questionnaire.



Be sure to do your own research if you want to wrestle at the next level; there are plenty of college wrestling programs to choose from. Good luck with your season, and make sure that when you step on the mat, you leave everything there. This has been Pin to Win, and I’m Yorick Hempstead signing off.




Yorick Hempstead is an ex-college athlete who is a sports blogger for ScoutMe. He is always talking sports on twitter @HempsteadHuddle.


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