2019 Division III Hall of Fame Presented by Defense Soap
Manheim, PA – The National Wrestling Coaches Association is proud to announce the Division III Hall of Fame Class of 2019 sponsored by Defense Soap. This year’s class is comprised of two former student-athletes and four coaches. The athletes are John Gemmel (Ithaca College) and Tim Jacoutot (The College of New Jersey) while the coaches are Phil Grebinar (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), Leo Kocher (University of Chicago), Lonnie Morris (Johnson & Wales University), and Donny Wichmann (Augsburg University).
“The Hall of Fame Class of 2019 is an outstanding group who have helped advance our sport through their tireless efforts. It is our honor to help in recognizing them on this honor and we are excited to bring the Hall of Fame to the NWCA Convention and plan on a wonderful evening celebrating these former athletes and coaches.” Mike Moyer, NWCA Executive Director.
The athletes from this year’s class, Gemmel and Jacoutot combined for an impressive 7 All-American finishes, 6 Finals appearances, and 4 National Championships.
John Gemmel (Ithaca College, 1994-98) had an impressive career at 126 lbs while wearing a singlet for the Bombers, capturing 3 All-American honors. Gemmel made appearances in an outstanding 3 NCAA Finals and capped his senior campaign with a National Championship in 1998.
Tim Jacoutot (The College of New Jersey, 1984-88) while competing at 118 for the Lions roared his way to 4 NCAA All-American honors with a Third-Place finish to go along with his 3 National Titles. Jacoutot was twice named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the NCAA Championships and posted a career .915 winning percentage with a 130-12 record.
The four coaches in the Class of 2019 have a combined 100 plus years of coaching experience. This stat means each of these men has given a very large portion of their lives in the service of wrestling and to better the lives of their athletes.
Coach Phil Grebinar (Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 1975-2005) had an impressive run at the helm of the Engineers’ program going 414-161-7 (.717) which currently puts him #24 in All-Time Dual Wins for all divisions and #6 in Division III. His athletes excelled on the mat winning four New England Tournament Championships while 35 wrestlers captured individual titles and 195 earned All-New England honors. Grebinar coached 11 NCAA All-Americans, 19 Scholar All-Americans and was named the New England Coach of the year 3 times. Not just a coach, Grebinar also spent 45 years as an NCAA referee.
Coach Leo Kocher (University of Chicago, 1978-present) continues to guide the Maroons’ of the “Windy City” and during his tenure, he has guided 23 All-Americans, 4 National Finalists, 2 National Champions and 1 Most Outstanding Wrestler. Kocher’s squads have also excelled within the University Athletic Association (UAA) conference winning 17 team championships while 125 of his wrestlers have brought home UAA individual titles, 9 of whom won the UAA Most Outstanding Wrestler award.
Coach Lonnie Morris (Johnson & Wales, 1997-Present) has built quite the program while at the helm of the Wildcats. His squads have won 349 duals which moved Morris into the Top 50 Duals Win list for all divisions. Morris has won 7 Regional Coach of the Year Awards and twice been named the NWCA National Coach of the year (2017 & 2019). He has coached 34 regional champions, 28 All-Americans, and a 2-time National Champion. His squads have shown that they are committed to their academics with 50 Academic All-Americans and the 2011 Team Academic National Championship.
Coach Donny Wichmann (Augsburg University 1990-2007, 2008-2009) was a long-time assistant of the Auggie program helping capture the program’s first National Championship in 1991 before winning 9 more. In addition to the 10 National Titles during his 19 years, Augsburg also captured 13 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Tournament Titles, 14 MIAC Team Duals Titles, and amassed 134 Individual All-Americans and 34 National Champions.
The Division III Hall of Fame banquet which in the past has been held the night before the NCAA Championships will this year be at the NWCA Convention in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The Class of 2019 will be celebrated on Saturday, August 3 in the Atlantic Ballroom at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina. Doors for the event are scheduled to open at 5:30 pm with the reception/social kicking off at 6:00 pm before the program begins at 7:00 pm. Those interested in purchasing tickets can visit www.nwcaonline.com/d3banquet or can pay at the door.