Courtesy of Pacific Link – Link
The Boxer wrestling program is now in the hands of former Pacific wrestler and former assistant coach Zach Binkerd as he’s officially been named interim Head men’s and women’s wrestling coach.
Binkerd knows first-hand how Pacific and the ability to compete in a sport you love at the college level can make a significant impact in one’s life. “I think some of the things that I learned as an athlete helped me in my professional career. The things that I learned in the classroom pushed me above my peers. I truly believe that Pacific University has a great education. I did both my undergrad and graduate work here, and I came out of my graduate program feeling like a professional – like I was ready to attack the world. I owe that a lot to the education that I received at Pacific and the culture that was created through the wrestling program,” said Binkerd.
Athletic Director Keith Buckley is excited to have Binkerd lead the way for the Boxer wrestling program moving forward.
“Coach Binkerd has a tremendous connection to the Boxer wrestling community and is eager to take the necessary steps to move our program positively forward into the future. He is a proud wrestling alum of Pacific University who is excited to lead our current student-athletes through this challenging time,” said Buckley.
Binkerd’s ties to Pacific wrestling run deep. He has served as an assistant coach, competed for four years on the mats for the Boxers, and his father Kevin Binkerd also wrestled for Pacific and was inducted in the Pacific Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.
For the past two seasons, Binkerd has served as an assistant coach for the Boxers. During the 2018-19 season, he helped three Boxer men reach the second round of the consolation round of the NCAA Division III West Regional. While in the same season, he helped coach four women in the WCWA Wrestling Championships, while two earned Top four finishes at the Oregon Women’s State Championships.
Zach competed for the Boxers for four years (2009-2013) after a strong high school career at Hillsboro high school, where he earned three top-eight finishes at State, including a second-place finish in the Oregon 5A State Championship in the 119 lb. weight class.
He hopes to use the strong history of Boxer wrestling, which includes over 60 All-Americans in men’s wrestling and over 40 All-Americans in women’s wrestling, and 17 National Champions between the men and women to help rebuild the program.
“We have a strong presence in the wrestling community in Oregon and beyond. There are a lot of Pacific University alums that are still active. If you walk into our wrestling room, you will see a wall that is littered with names of past champions and All-Americans and people who have found a way to attack life beyond; leaders of the wrestling community, leaders of their own communities. It’s always had a strong impact on me since I was a kid; I was fortunate enough that my father was an All-American and knew of many of those folks growing up and had such a big impact on my life. It’s awesome to be part of a community that is steeped in so much tradition,” said Binkerd.
He earned both his bachelor’s degree and graduate degree from Pacific and has spent the last five years teaching, currently as a third-grade teacher at Fairview Elementary school in Hillsboro.
Binkerd hopes to build the program back up and knows it will take work. “Hoping to bolster our position on campus and try and grow our numbers, and really look to be eventually a threat nationally. We know there’s a lot of work to get there, but we’re excited and ready to put in the work to make the push,” said Binkerd.
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