photo courtesy of MTN sports
The women’s college wrestling season is upon us! Though there are still plenty of areas in the country where wrestling has been delayed, a handful of women’s programs have hit the mats for competitions. With a new season comes a wave of coaching changes, which is certainly the case on the women’s side. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of women’s programs that regularly deal with turnover from the head coaching position. Below we’ll discuss seven teams that will be under new leadership for the 2020-21.
This does not include brand-new programs that will compete for the first time this season. We have already mentioned those squads and their respective head coaches here.
Brewton-Parker College – Devane Dodgens
The administration at Brewton-Parker College didn’t have to look very far to find their latest head coach in Devane Dodgens. Devane was coaching in-state for Life University’s men’s team and will assist in that capacity at BPC, as well. Life was also where Dodgens competed collegiately and he finished as a two-time NAIA All-American, taking seventh and third. Before returning to Life to coach, Devane was heavily involved in Georgia’s club scene and was an assistant at the high school level. Dodgens is the fourth head coach in as many years for the Barons, so hopefully, he’ll bring some stability to the program.
Eastern Oregon – Carlene Sluberski
Carlene Sluberski takes over at Eastern Oregon after spending the previous two seasons as the head coach at the University of Providence. In 2018-19, Sluberski oversaw the first NAIA All-American for Providence as Dajan Treder placed third at 123 lb weight class. Her 2019-20 squad finished third in the Cascade Collegiate Conference and featured two champions (Iverly Navarro and Tatum Sparks). Carlene was a two-time US National Team member herself and was also a graduate assistant at the University of the Cumberlands. Sluberski inherits a talented Mountaineer program that features three women that have earned All-American honors at the WCWA Championships.
Lakeland – Shannyn Gillespie
Perhaps the most high profile head coaching addition of the offseason was made by Lakeland University when they hired Shannyn Gillespie. Shannyn was a DI All-American for Lock Haven, taking third in the legendary 142 lb weight class in 1993 that saw Lincoln McIlravy and Gerry Abas meet in the national finals. Since that time, he has been a pioneer in the growth of girls’ and women’s wrestling. Shannyn spent 2004-12 at the US Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan and worked with many of the top current and former Senior-level women. Gillespie was a national team coach and has plenty of experience coaching overseas. Before coming to Lakeland, Shannyn was coaching at the high school level in Illinois. Don’t be surprised to see some Illinois come up north to Lakeland, along with some high-profile training partners.
Midland – Daviaire Dickerson
Within the last week, Matt Atwood left the Midland University program and was replaced by Daviaire Dickerson. Daviaire spent the 2019-20 campaign as a graduate assistant for the Warrior’s men’s team. Originally from Utah, Dickerson spent time competing for NAIA Bethany College before moving to Arizona Christian. Provided everyone stays at Midland, Dickerson has an impressive nucleus to build around. Atwood’s 2020 recruiting class was tabbed by TOM as the fourth-best in the nation with six ranked wrestlers.
Pacific – Zach Binkerd
Pacific University in Oregon will have Zach Binkerd lead their men’s and women’s program on an interim basis in 2020-21. Zach is no stranger to the program as he has assisted with both teams in the past. Binkerd also competed collegiately at Pacific and his father was an All-American at the school. Having wrestled in-state as well, Binkerd should be able to promote the program and recruit well from his home state.
Providence hasn’t officially named a head coach and the word is they may not until the end of the first semester. Their new coach could come from someone who was recently involved in the women’s coaching carousel.
Simpson – Armand Molina
In only their second year of competition at the intercollegiate level, Simpson University will have its second head coach in Armand Molina. Armand just finished competing for the Red Hawks men’s team in 2020. He also spent time wrestling for Cal Baptist. In high school, Molina earned All-American honors twice in Fargo and was a Folkstyle National Champion at the Cadet level. Simpson could be in a position to make a jump in recruiting with Molina. California has traditionally been the top state for producing women’s wrestlers, but only it has two institutions that offer women’s wrestling (Menlo is the other). If Molina can tap into the in-state talent, the Red Hawks could be a force to be reckoned with.
Presbyterian also has a head coaching vacancy. Director of Wrestling Operations Mark Cody will presumably fill the void until a new coach is hired.