Chris Freije Picked To Lead Fairmont State Wrestling Program
Courtesy of Fairmont State Athletics – Link
FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Fairmont State University Director of Athletics Chad Fowler named Chris Freije as head coach of the newly added Wrestling program on Thursday afternoon.
Freije will be officially introduced as head wrestling coach on Monday, May 20 during an 11 a.m. press conference inside Fairmont State’s Feaster Center (Joe Retton Arena). Members of the media and community members are encouraged to attend the press conference.
“It is a privilege to welcome Chris to Fairmont State as our new Head Wrestling Coach,” said Fowler. “Chris brings over 10 years of experience as a student-athlete and a coach to Fairmont State and will be an outstanding leader for our newly-added wrestling program.
“Chris has been successful during each stop in his career, including the NCAA Division II level,” Fowler added. “We look forward to Chris welcoming high quality student-athletes to our program, and we are confident that we will be competing for championships at the conference, regional and national level under his leadership.”
During his career as an assistant and head coach, Freije has helped coach three conference championship teams (two NCAA II, one NAIA), and eight individual conference champions (six NCAA II, two NAIA). Thus far in his coaching career, Freije has also coached a total of 28 national qualifiers, 12 All-Americans and two National Champions between the NCAA Division II and NAIA ranks.
“We are thrilled to welcome Chris to Fairmont State University as our head wresting coach,” said Dr. Mirta M. Martin, President at Fairmont State. “The Falcon community is excited to welcome wrestling back to Fairmont State and we look forward to seeing Chris and his student-athletes represent our institution during competition and in the classroom.”
Freije comes to Fairmont State after serving as Head Wrestling Coach at Kentucky Wesleyan College during the past two seasons. After recruiting for his first year on the job, KWC competed in its first NCAA Division II season in 2018-19, with three wrestlers advancing to the consolation round of the NCAA Super Regionals in St. Charles, Missouri.
“I am thrilled to take over as head coach of the re-launched wrestling program at Fairmont State,” said Freije. “I truly feel this program can be a sleeping giant. Our goal is going to be to keep successful West Virginia wrestlers in state, and to keep successful regional wrestlers in the region.
“West Virginia is a state rich with wrestling talent and is located in a region filled with the best high school talent in the country,” Freije added. “After spending time on campus and getting the opportunity to meet everyone at Fairmont State, I felt this opportunity was a great fit for me in terms of goals, expectations, and just the overall vision for the program. I would like to thank the Board of Governors, President Martin, the Athletic Department, and alumni for this opportunity and I certainly look forward to reaching all of their expectations.”
Prior to taking over at Kentucky Wesleyan, Freije helped launch the wrestling program at Cloud County Community College in Concordia, Kansas. During his tenure at Cloud County Community College, Freije recruited the program’s inaugural roster, which included over 20 student-athletes. Cloud County’s inaugural season was capped with six wrestlers qualifying for the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championships.
Before starting the program at Cloud County, Freije was an assistant coach at Lindsey Wilson College, an NAIA program in Columbia, Kentucky, from 2014 to 2016. During his tenure he helped designed and implement a year-round strength program while also coordinating the program’s community involvement. Seven wrestlers from Lindsey Wilson reached the NAIA National Tournament during Freije’s tenure, including three that earned NAIA All-America honors in 2016.
He also coached two standouts that won Mid-South Conference and East Regional Championships in 2016 while at LWC.
From 2010 to 2014 he served as Head Assistant Coach at Colorado Mesa, an NCAA Division II program in Grand Junction, Colorado. He was the program’s head recruiter while providing individual instruction and workouts for select weight classes during his tenure. Six times in three seasons wrestlers achieved All-America status while Freije assisted in the development of an individual national champion in 2014.
From 2011 to 2014, Freije also coached three individual conference champions and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference’s Freshman of the Year in 2011. The wrestling program at Colorado Mesa was also a Top 10 NCAA Division II All-Academic Team in 2011.
He began his coaching career at Western State Colorado University during the 2009-10 season. During his one season with the program, Freije coached an individual national champion and three All-Americans. Six standouts qualified for the national tournament in 2010.
On the mat, Freije was the 2004 Arizona Class 5A state champion his senior year in high school at 152 pounds. He wrestled his freshman year at Arizona State University before finishing collegiate career at Western State University, helping the Mountaineers to a RMAC Championship in 2009. Freije won the RMAC Super Region 4 championship and finished as the NCAA DII runner-up at 149 pounds that same season.
Freije earned his Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Exercise and Sport Science in 2009 from Western State Colorado University.