Eighth annual NWCA/FCA CEO Leadership Academy concludes with another stellar showing in Edwardsville, Ill.

Manheim, Pennsylvania — The eighth annual NWCA/FCAW CEO Leadership Academy wrapped up this week at the Jon Davis Wrestling Center in Edwardsville, Ill.. A collaborative effort between the National Wrestling Coaches Association, Fellowship of Christian Athletes Wrestling, this Leadership Academy continues to focus on coaches at faith-based institutions.
Since 2000, there have been 202 new collegiate wrestling teams on both the men’s and women’s side and most of the additions have come from small, private faith-based colleges and universities.

Coach Heath Eslinger, UTChattanooga

The joint NWCA-FCAW Leadership Academy is part of a much larger NWCA coaching development initiative. The NWCA, through a collaborative effort with internationally renowned coaching development expert, Dr. Dan Gould at Michigan State University, has constructed a gold standard leadership program to help college coaches accomplish the following: Strengthen their CEO skills, strengthen alignment of wrestling programs with educational values and insulate their programs from being discontinued.

“Smaller faith-based institutions have a set of values that present their own unique challenges,” said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. “With the help of Dr. Dan Gould, the architect for both of our Leadership Academies and with the backing of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, we again had a tremendous educational program with a great panel of speakers, coaches and individuals who can help with the nature of these institutions.”

The panel included legendary and Hall of Fame retired head coaches Jack Spates (Oklahoma) and Jim Miller (Wartburg), along with highly successful current college coaches Maryville head coach Mike Denney, Wheaton coach Jim Gruenwald, Grand View head coach Nick Mitchell, and Chattanooga head coach Heath Eslinger.  Dr. Gould, who is world-renowned in the world of Sports Psychology, facilitated this year’s Leadership Academy.

The presence of the United States Marine Corps was again notable as Capt. Thomas Pinnell was the featured luncheon speaker. He spoke about the importance of perseverance and the relationship between the Marines and the sport of wrestling. Capt. Nubari Kogbara was also present representing the Marines.

“Wrestling has that fighting spirit and so do the brave men and women in our Armed Forces,” said Moyer. To hear the passion in Capt. Pinnell’s voice, it really embodies the core values we share in wrestling and with the Marines.”

In 2011, the “faith-based” component was added so scholarships can be extended to an additional 25 – 30 coaches each year.

In 2018, 24 college, high school and club coaches attended this year’s Leadership Academy. College coaches were: Bill Schindel (Adrian), Chris DiSanto (Bergen CC), Derek Moore (Cal Baptist), Kevin Koch (Concordia, Wis.), Davion Caston (Cumberland U.), Scott Mattingly (Eastern Michigan), Amond Prater (Fontbonne), Kyle Boore (Harper), Ryne Morrison (Heidelberg), Ben Chapman (Lakeland), Jordon Bakley (Lincoln), Chris Basford and Donnell Walker (Maryville), Tim Prescott (Northern State), Tyree Cox (Northwestern College), Phillip Hatfield (Oklahoma City), R.J. Sweat (Oklahoma Wesleyan), Matt Cavallaris, Steve Aiello and Frank Aiello (Wheaton), Aron Scott (William Penn) and Jeff Albers (York)

From the club and high school levels, Chris Wilmington of Florida and Jerry Boland of New Jersey also attended.

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