photo courtesy of West Liberty athletics
TOM recently got to speak with Danny Irwin head coach of the emerging DII power West Liberty. In his first year with the Hilltoppers, Irwin’s team qualified two wrestlers for the 2020 NCAA Championships, which ended up being canceled only 16 hours before the start time. Irwin tells the story how one of his wrestlers, Cole Laya, ended up squaring off against one of his potential rivals, anyways. The future is bright for West Liberty as Irwin has the All-American Laya, and an impressive recruiting class that includes some high-profile transfer possibilities. Before coming to West Liberty, Irwin developed Wheeling Jesuit into a national power, even taking second at the 2019 NCAA Championships and producing individual champions in back-to-back years. After the 2019 season, Irwin left the WJU program and made the very short trek to West Liberty. We also discuss his coaching journey, prior to Wheeling Jesuit, and influences in his career. And like a couple other coaches we’ve spoken with this spring, Danny has enjoyed Ozark during this unexpected down time.