Colin Johnston Named Fairmont State Head Wrestling Coach
Courtesy of Fairmont State Athletics – Link
FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Fairmont State University Director of Athletics Greg Bamberger has named Colin Johnston head wrestling coach as the Falcons enter their second season competing at the NCAA Division II level.
Johnston was a standout wrestler at West Virginia University and has coaching experience at multiple levels of NCAA wrestling. Johnston was also inducted into the Southwest Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018. The prep standout earned Hall of Fame recognition after winning four WPIAL titles from 2005-08 at Canon-McMillan High School in Pennsylvania, including a trio of PIAA top-three finishes.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Colin and his family to Fairmont and look forward to his leadership for our wrestling program,” said Bamberger. “Colin is a young, energetic coach that has a great vision for our young program.
“Colin brings experience from multiple levels of collegiate wrestling and will be able to relate to and lead our student–athletes based on the experiences he has had as a student-athlete, assistant coach, and head coach,” Bamberger continued.
Johnston will officially take over the program on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020, and replaces Chris Freije – who resigned from the position earlier this fall to pursue other opportunities in collegiate wrestling.
“I am grateful and very honored to take over the Head Wrestling Coach position at Fairmont State University,” said Johnston. “I truly feel that Fairmont State is a unique place where we can be successful right away.
“West Virginia has a long-standing tradition of excellence in the sport of wrestling and I want to keep the local talented wrestlers in the region. I want to thank Greg Bamberger and the selection committee for giving me this outstanding opportunity. I am eager to bring an immediate impact to the wrestling program at Fairmont State University.”
Johnston arrives at Fairmont State after two seasons serving in the same position at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford – an NCAA Division III program. In the program’s first year, Johnston and Pitt-Bradford shared many successes, highlighted by a victory in the team’s final dual meet of the season against Penn State-Behrend.
Capping the program’s first season was a strong showing in the NCAA Southeast Regional, which was highlighted by senior Sam Colebert’s sixth-place finish in the heavyweight class.
Last season, Johnston led a second student-athlete to a top-10 regional finish at the NCAA Midwest Regional as Mitch Dowd took eighth-place in the heavyweight class. Dowd finished the year with a 32-11 record and led the team in wins last season. Eli Hernandez (133 LBS) and Nate Powley (165 LBS) also turned in impressive seasons in their weight classes with 20 and 17 wins, respectively.
Johnston became a first-time head coach at Pitt-Bradford after serving as assistant wrestling coach at NCAA Division I Davidson College from 2015-2017.
At Davidson, he scheduled team practices, planned meets and oversaw strength and conditioning commitments and NCAA weight certifications, while also reviewing and analyzing video of the athletes’ performance.
On the administrative side of the program, he organized, planned and executed the teams travel and reservations while developing all procedures to manage and meet the allotted budget. Johnston also handled a large percentage of Davidson’s recruiting.
From November 2015 until February 2016 Johnston served as Davidson’s interim head coach, where he took on all head coaching responsibilities for the Division I program while also covering his assistant coach duties.
Johnston spent his collegiate career wrestling at West Virginia University, where he served as a team captain in 2013 and 2014. He also earned a 2014 NCAA Division I qualification in the 141-pound weight class after turning in an overall record of 28-10, including a 16-2 dual record and a 4-4 mark against ranked opponents. His 28 total victories in 2013-14 ranked second on the Mountaineers’ roster.
Johnston also wrestled at 133 during the 2012-13 season for the Mountaineers, earning seven total victories.
Johnston earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Multidisciplinary Studies in 2014 from West Virginia University and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Sport Management/Intercollegiate Athletics Administration studies at California University of Pennsylvania.
Prior to his collegiate career at WVU, Johnston earned numerous honors as a prep star at Canon-McMillan. He was a member of four WPIAL championship teams and turned in a trio of PIAA top-three finishes from 2006 to 2008. He won the PIAA state wrestling title at 112-pounds as a sophomore, finished runner-up at 125-pounds as a junior, and finished third at 135-pounds following his senior season. In 2008 following his senior season, he was selected to wrestle in the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic and Dream Team Classic.
The Eighty Four, Pa. native, also spent time coaching in his hometown at the Quest School of Wrestling Club as an instructor from 2007-2014. While in college, he also spent four summers working at the West Virginia University Wrestling Camp as an instructor and counselor.
Colin and his wife Lexus have two sons, Koy (4 years old) and Kowen (7 months old), and a dog Raylee.