BOONE, N.C. – Appalachian State wrestling coach JohnMark Bentley has been announced as one of eight finalists for the Division I Theraworx NWCA National Coach of the Year award.
The National Wrestling Coaches Association is pleased to announce the establishment of the Theraworx Coach of the Year program. The award is presented to the coach who has demonstrated outstanding effort throughout the season in developing and elevating their program on campus and in the community. The award winner will be announced on Tuesday in Cleveland prior to the start of the 2018 NCAA Championships.
In 2016, the NWCA partnered with Theraworx for it to become the official prevention partner of the NWCA. Theraworx Protect is a topical formulation that optimizes and preserves the skin's natural antimicrobial function.
This year's finalists are:
Appalachian State: JohnMark Bentley
Lock Haven: Scott Moore
Ohio State: Tom Ryan
Missouri: Brian Smith
Eastern Michigan: Dave Bollard
NC State: Pat Popolizio
Virginia Tech: Tony Robie
Lehigh: Pat Santoro
Last weekend, Bentley was named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year for the third time in the last four seasons and the fourth time in his nine seasons as the Mountaineers' head coach.
Improving Bentley's career record to 88-59-1, App State won a third straight regular-season title and a sweep-completing tournament title with a young 2017-18 team that had only two returning starters competing at the same spots from the previous year. The Mountaineers' primary lineup included three freshmen and two sophomores, with two additional freshmen also making multiple dual meet appearances, and Appalachian won the title even though it redshirted the only 2017 NCAA qualifier on the roster.
App State went 7-0 in the Southern Conference for the second straight year, put eight wresters in the finals of the league tournament and had four wrestlers qualify for this week's NCAA Championships. The Mountaineers also wrestled in front of standing-room-only crowds at home against NC State and Duke, with the Blue Devils' appearance drawing more than 300 students to Varsity Gym.
App State's 20-1 record in SoCon dual meets since the start of the 2015-16 season included a stretch in which the Mountaineers climbed to as high as No. 16 in the national rankings during the 2016-17 season.
Nationally, during the same three-year stretch, Bentley's program is 29-1 against non-Power Five Conference opponents with five victories against teams from Power Five leagues: Duke (2015-16), Indiana (2015-16), No. 15 Oregon State (2016-17), No. 25 North Carolina (2016-17) and Duke (2016-17).
Since Bentley became head coach, the Mountaineers have had 28 NCAA qualifiers, including All-Americans in 2017 (Denzel Dejournette) and 2012 (Kyle Blevins, Austin Trotman). Bentley finished third in voting for National Coach of the Year in 2012.