2015 Coach of the Year


The 2015 d3wrestle.com Coach of the Year is Eric Keller of Wartburg. Coming off a string of four straight NCAA Championships, Keller was tasked with building a competitive team from a group that returned just 3 of the 103.5 points the Knights scored at the 2014 NCAA Championships. The team began the season unranked for the first time in recent memory, but quickly climbed the rankings as the season progressed. It took time for Wartburg to assert itself as a top team, and the Knights dropped an early season dual to La Crosse. That would be the last loss for Wartburg this season, as the new starting lineup began to perform, and the team finished with an 18-1 record, running their conference dual meet winning streak to 181.

By the end of the season, the Wartburg lineup consisted of one returning starter from 2014, one freshman, two transfers, and six wrestlers who were backups the year before. This group included Andrew Steiert, the #1 seed at 165 at the NCAA Championships, and Brandon Welter, the #4 seed at 174 at the NCAA Championships. Both were starters for the first time this year, and both had wrestled 149 in 2014. The current 149, the only NCAA Champion for the Knights, is Kenny Martin, a junior college transfer who did not place in the 2014 NJCAA Championships.

Wartburg began the postseason with a 40 point win in the Central Region and brought nine wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, all of whom were seeded. Only 133 lbs. starter Connor Campo was a starter the year before, and he had gone 0-2 at the Championships. The team entered the tournament ranked #1 but finished second following an unexpected championship run from Augsburg. Wartburg had eight All-Americans and a pair of finalists. Coach Keller took a lineup with zero returning NCAA points to a runner-up finish, and he is the 2015 d3wrestle.com Coach of the Year.

Previous Winners
2014 – Tim Fader, Whitewater
2013 – Steve Marianetti, Elmhurst
2012 – Jim Miller & Eric Keller, Wartburg
2011 – Mark Hawald, Mount Union
2010 – Dave Malecek, La Crosse