NWCA announces McKendree University’s Kisgen, as the Theraworx NWCA Coach of the Year for Division II
By Dan Weaver
The National Wrestling Coaches Association is pleased to announce the winner of the Theraworx NWCA Coach of the Year Award for Division II, as James Kisgen, from McKendree University. The award is presented to the coach that has demonstrated outstanding effort throughout the season in developing and elevating their program on campus and in the community.
The award is sponsored by the NWCA in conjunction with their partner, Theraworx.
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Congratulations to this year’s finalists:
- East Region, Pat Pecora – University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
- Midwest Region, Josh Hutchens – Ashland University
- Central Region, James Kisgen – McKendree University
- West Region, Lennie Zalesky – California Baptist University
Coach Kisgen, from McKendree University, completed his 15th year coaching and assembled a 17-5 dual meet record. He led his wrestlers to the Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship with a 6-0 record. Winning conference coach of the year, Kisgen also had one of his wrestlers, Darren Wynn, voted as the conference wrestler of the year.
In 2002, McKendree named Kisgen their head coach to run their new program. In the program’s short history, McKendree has had nine national champions, five runners-up, seven third- and eight fourth-place finishers, six fifth-place finishes, six sixth-place finishers, 10 seventh-place finishers and five eighth-place finishers under Kisgen’s guidance. The Bearcats were also national runner-up as a team in 2007-08 when Kisgen was named both NAIA National Coach of the Year and NAIA East Region Coach of the Year. Kisgen collected his second NAIA National Coach of the Year honor in the 2010-11 season.
Through academics and community service, Kisgen and his Bearcats have excelled. Having a team GPA over 3.0 with two graduate students achieving 4.0. The Bearcats have over fifty hours working with the Homeless Outreach in the greater St. Louis area.
NWCA Executive Director, Mike Moyer, said, “On behalf of the NWCA Board of Directors, congratulations to Coach Kisgen for his extraordinary coaching accomplish and his commitment to conduct his program with close alignment with educational values.”