After 6 years at the helm of the UB Wrestling program, and coming off of arguably UB’s most successful season on the mat since returning to Division I in 1998, head coach John Stutzman was named MAC Coach of the Year today. Stutzman’s win marked the second time in school history a UB coach won the award, with Jim Beichner winning in 2011.
Stutzman led the Bulls to a modern era best 12-5 record, a record 5 wins in conference matches, and a perfect 5-0 record at home in Alumni Arena. Stutzman also coached four UB’s grapplers, Bryan Lantry, Derek Spann, Troy Keller and Brett Perry to appearances in their respective weight’s championship bout in the MAC tournament; with Perry and Keller taking home the gold. Additionally, Jake Gunning and Alex Smythe earned bids to the NCAA championships held in Pittsburgh this year giving Stutzman 6 total qualifiers, the most for the program since 2011. UB also finished in 2nd at the MAC championships, setting a new program best at the tournament.
I’ve written pretty extensively about Stutzman’s challenge with rebuilding the wrestling program from the ground up after the state that it was left in after the departure of the previous coaching staff. To be frank, what Stutzman has done has been nothing short of remarkable. I implore you to read my piece from 2016 that’s linked above for a more in-depth look at the state of the program and where he’s taken things. Taking a step back, it really is quite an accomplishment.
Stutzman built Bloomsburg into a national power before leaving for his current post, and after several years of adversity, overcoming the odds, and good old-fashioned elbow grease, UB has turned a corner and Stutzman earned this well deserved honor.
I’ll have more on the season as a whole coming in the next few days.