Matt Oney comes back to WPI

Matt Oney '90 (left credit Kansas Wesleyan, right from his days as a student-athlete)

Matt Oney has been named to succeed Steve Hall as head wrestling coach at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Oney, a 1990 graduate of the Massachusetts school, had most recently been the head coach as Kansas Wesleyan, an NAIA school where he helped get the new program off the ground. At Kansas Wesleyan, Oney coached the programs first three national qualifiers an first All-American. He previously was an assistant coach at Wayland Baptist and won six boys and three girls Hawaii state championships as head coach of the Punahou School. Keep reading for more from WPI.

Matt Oney ’90 Selected as Head Wrestling Coach at WPI

WORCESTER — WPI Director of Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics Dana L. Harmon announced the hiring of Matt Oney ’90 as the Head Wrestling Coach. He takes over the program from fellow alumnus Steve Hall ’87, who retired following the program’s best season since the Phil Grebinar era.

Oney returns to Boynton Hill following a two-year stop at Kansas Wesleyan where he boasted three NAIA national qualifiers, five KCAC Champions, two KCAC Most Outstanding Wrestlers, and the program’s first All-America. His debut campaign, as well as the program’s first full season, yielded the school’s first national qualifier and 2016-17 KCAC Coach of the Year accolades. Academically, Oney touted the program’s first NAIA All-American and NWCA All-Academic honoree. Prior to leading the Coyotes, Oney served as an assistant men’s and women’s coach at Wayland Baptist for two years.

“We welcome back Matt Oney ‘90 to the WPI Athletics Family,” said Harmon. “Matt has distinguished himself at the high school, college, national and international levels of coaching and we are excited to have him lead our very successful wrestling program now and into the future. Matt brings a wealth of knowledge and experiences to the position that will help our student-athletes reach their full potential not only in competition, but also more importantly in the classroom and in the community.”

Before making the move to the collegiate ranks, Oney was a math and physics teacher at Punahou School, a top-tier ethnically diverse college preparatory school, in Honolulu, HI for over two decades. As head coach, he guided the boys’ team to six consecutive state titles and the girls’ team to three in-a-row while collecting numerous league and state accolades along the way.

“I am very excited about having Matt take the helm of the WPI Wrestling program,” remarked Hall. “He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge that will help lead the program to even greater heights.”

Off campus, the USA Wrestling GOLD Certified Coach is well traveled, having been to Turkey and Russia as part of the organization’s Coaches Apprentice Program in 2009 and 2010. He was later on the women’s freestyle staff for the Pan-Am Cadet Championships from 2012 to 2015 and the Pan-Am Junior Championships in 2017. The 2013 team claimed the title while the 2012, 2015 and 2017 lineups placed second, and the 2014 team earned bronze. Oney was also involved at the state level from 2003-2012.

“I would like to thank Dana Harmon and the entire search committee for the time and energy they put in on behalf of the WPI Wrestling Family and it’s student-athletes throughout the process,” commented Oney. “As an alum, I am truly grateful to be able to give back to the program and school in this way, and am excited for the opportunity to lead these young men moving forward.”

The electrical engineering major posted a dual meet record of 21-10 (.667) with 12 pins – without being pinned himself – and was third in the region at 142 as a sophomore and as a senior. Both All-New England performances led to NWCA Scholar All-America honors while 1989-90 co-captain also helped the team to a second-place showing regionally and No. 15 nationally.

The Oney Era begins Saturday, November 10 at Ursinus while his home debut is a week later versus Norwich and Stevens in a super quad at the Sports & Recreation Center.